The latest leg of the UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup takes place in Montpellier ©Getty Images

While all eyes are on BMX freestyle's debut in Tokyo next summer, this week's International Cycling Union World Cup event in Montpellier could give an indication as to how the sport will be received in Paris in five years' time.

The latest leg of the 2019 tour, part of the FISE World Series, takes place in the southern French city from tomorrow to Sunday (June 2).

While freestyle will be a new kid on the block when it comes to the Olympics, in Montpellier it is firmly established – the city has hosted FISE World Series events for more than two decades and is a staple of the urban sports calendar.

As a result, the event is expected to attract huge crowds and a major following, as it appears alongside a host of other sports in the FISE Series, including breakdancing, which is expected to make its Olympic debut in Paris 2024.

While the previous leg of the BMX World Cup took place in Hiroshima as an acid test of the Japanese reception of the sport, Montpellier serves as an indicator of what to expect in 2024.

The street park on which the freestyle event will be held has been covered in concrete, in an attempt to emulate the intended facility in Tokyo next year.

The event is the second leg of the world tour, following Hiroshima in April ©Getty Images
The event is the second leg of the world tour, following Hiroshima in April ©Getty Images

In the men's event in Hiroshima, Brandon Loupos was unanimous 'battle of the champions' winner, but faces a tough task to defend his crown.

The 17-year-old Rim Nakamura – a possible home medal favourite for Tokyo – and Loupos' fellow Australian Logan Martin will provide significant competition.

In the women's competition, 17-year-old American Hannah Roberts continues to emerge as the poster girl for female BMX freestyle after winning the 2017 and 2018 tours.

Fellow teen Lara Lessmann of Germany – winner of the Youth Olympics gold medal – will provide stiff opposition, while another US rider, Perris Benegas, will be keen to make up for lost time after missing last year's Montpellier event through injury.

BMX freestyle's appeal is illustrated in the age range of the women's competitors, from 15-year-old Laury Perez to 37-year-old Nina Buitrago, an icon of the scene.