After rounds in Poland and France, it was Switzerland’s turn to welcome the UCI Trials World Cup. Tatiana Janickova had her heart set on winning her first round of the season after retaining her world title in Norway a few weeks previously. Right from the start, Janickova, resplendent in her rainbow jersey, put on a powerful, stylish performance. It was a dominant victory marred by just one minor fault in the first round. While Janickova has not stepped down from the podium all season, the same cannot be said of her rivals. Her compatriot Kristina Sykorova, seeking a performance to match her obvious talent, finished second while Swiss rider Debi Studer was on the third step of the podium. This was the first top-three placing for Studer, and what joy it was for her to achieve this in front of her home crowd. Janine Jungfels and Nina Reichenbach were pre-event favourites for podium places but both fell away and will have to wait until next week and the World Cup finale to seek their revenge.
Janickova’s victory increased her lead in the overall ranking of the 2014 UCI Trials World Cup. The Slovak is right on course to retain the title she won last year.
The first final event on Saturday was the Men Elite 26-inch competition. As has been the case all season, three favourites were in contention at the start of the last 12 zones: Gilles Coustellier and Vincent Hermance from France and Jack Carthy from Great Britain. The difficulty of the course had eliminated the podium hopes of the other five finalists. Jack Carthy killed off any suspense by finishing the first round seven points ahead of Vincent Hermance and 10 ahead of World Champion Gilles Coustellier! In the second round, despite a minor error on the most difficult section of the course, the young prodigy retained a 12-point lead over Coustellier. It was a superb performance by the rider recently crowned Junior 26-inch World Champion for the second time.
Behind the leading trio there were creditable performances by juniors Sergi Llongueras (Spain) and Nicolas Vallée (France) who were competing in their first World Cup final. With Carthy’s success, talented young trials riders are targeting the very top of the discipline and threatening to overturn the world hierarchy. Llongueras finished fourth and Rafa Tibau (Spain) was fifth, while French Champion Kevin Aglae came sixth. Vallée finished in seventh place. Giacomo Coustellier withdrew just before the start of the final.
The last final of the World Cup weekend in Moutier, the Men Elite 20-inch event, saw a Spanish whitewash of the podium. Abel Mustieles, leader of the 2014 UCI Trials World Cup, stood proudly on the top step of the podium ahead of World Champion Benito Ros and Ion Aretio. Leading after the first round, Mustieles held all the cards to confirm his win and extend his lead in the overall ranking. It was a powerful, precise display from Mustieles who finished seven points ahead of Benito Ros, who had a bad first round with two mistakes, one when he simply forgot to tackle an obstacle!
The leading pair opened up a huge gap over Ion Areitio in third, who finished 33 points behind the winner. Areitio had a single point advantage over Raphael Pils and was three points ahead of Rick Koekoek. These three riders have all secured podium places this year, but never have they been so far behind the leaders in the category. Germany’s Lucas Krell finished sixth, ahead of France’s Marius Merger. Benjamin Durville was again eighth, although on this occasion he had to abandon after three zones due to injury.
The last event of the year is next weekend’s 2014 UCI Trials World Cup Finale in Antwerp, Belgium. The leaders of the three categories going into the final event are Tatiana Janickova (Women Elite), Jack Carthy (Men Elite 26-inch) and Abel Mustieles (Men Elite 20-inch).