Thirteen competitors from eight countries will be on the starting line in the Elite Women category scheduled for Friday afternoon. Twice UCI World Champion, the Slovak Tatiana Janickova will be keen to continue her winning streak and to triumph in her first round of the season in the World Cup. Her two main rivals will be Janine Jungfels from Australia, victorious in Méribel, and Nina Reichenbach from Germany, ranked third in the World Championships. However, Debi Studer from Switzerland, Perrine Devahive from Belgium and Christina Sykorova from Slovakia will also want to seize their chance in the absence of the Spanish rider Gemma Abant.
In the Elite Men category, there will be 98 pilots: 50 in the Elite Men 20’’ and 48 in the Elite Men 26’’. On this occasion, the two new World Champions will appear before the Swiss crowd wearing their new rainbow jerseys. Both are used to donning this garment, as they are quite simply the recordmen of the number of titles held in their respective categories: eight for the Spaniard Benito Ros (20’’) and five for Frenchman Gilles Coustellier (26’’). Needless to say that they are both experienced pilots.
At the Moutier event, Abel Mustieles will be the most likely rider to get in front of Benito Ros, his successor in the worldwide rankings. The two Spaniards have been neck and neck for four seasons now, and it is always difficult to predict who will climb onto the highest step on the podium, even though since last year Mustieles has a slight advantage. Undefeated in the World Cup since the Geneva final in 2012 (!), he will be present on the sections at Moutier in the position of leader in the general rankings. In the race for the podium, the German Raphael Pils, the Dutch Rick Koekoek, the Spaniard Ion Areitio, and the French riders Théau Courtes and Marius Merger seem to be best equipped to get a result. However, keep an eye on the Swiss pilots Lucien Leiser, Jérôme Chapuis and Loris Braun, who will endeavour to shine at home.
With a recent world title to his name, Gilles Coustellier will start the race as favourite. Although we can expect that his fellow countryman, Vincent Hermance, will as usual be his great rival, we must not lose sight of the Briton, Jack Carthy, who is leader in the general rankings. Having won a second world title in the Junior category, Carthy wants to establish himself firmly as a leader in the Elite category with a second consecutive win in the World Cup. However, this trio could potentially be unsettled by the French riders Kevin Aglae and Giacomo Coustellier, the Belgian Iciar Van den Berh, the Hungarian Laszlo Hegedus, the British rider Andrei Burton, the Spaniard Rafa Roura or the German Hannes Herrmann.
Let’s meet up then from Friday 19th September for the Elite Men 20’’ and 26’’ qualifiers, and the Elite Women race. On Saturday 20th, the semi-finals involving the top 10 pilots will take place, and during the evening we will have the finals featuring the eight best pilots of the day. As the event takes place over two days, exceptionally there will be no super final in this UCI Trials World Cup.
2014 UCI Trials World Cup Meribel – Action Clip
The third round of the 2014 UCI Trials World Cup was held in Méribel, France, from 21-23 August. The three competitions, held on a course at the foot of the downhill track, were won by competitors from three different nations. An Australian woman, a Spaniard and an Englishman took the plaudits in this pretty town at the heart of the Three Valleys ski region to warm applause from the sizeable French crowd.
The world’s best trials riders had gathered in France a little over a week before the World Championships which will be held in Norway this year. The standard of competition at Méribel clearly illustrated the great form of many competitors ahead of the World Championships.
In the Women Elite category, the Australian Janine Jungfels, who finished third at Pra Loup, produced a dominant display. World Champion Tatiana Janickova tried everything on the third day of competition but had to admit defeat in the face of a calm, powerful performance by Jungfels. The Australian has only had two events to prepare for the World Championships but is now a serious contender for the title. Germany’s Nina Reichenbach impressed during the first round, but ultimately the competition was too fierce for the recent winner of the Youth World Games.
The standard of the women’s competition continues to improve, with 15 women from eight different countries taking part.
Standing on the second step of the World Cup podium for the third time this season, Tatiana Janickova took over leadership of the World Cup ranking.
In the Men Elite 20-inch competition, Spanish World Champion Abel Mustieles was in a class of his own. Despite a few minor errors at the start of the final, he came to the super final with a lead of no less than 11 points over the Netherlands’ Rick Koekoek, a more than comfortable margin for the Spaniard judging from the earlier rounds of the World Cup this season. Nevertheless, Mustieles gave his utmost in search of the best possible score over the final four zones. He finished on 22 points while second-placed Koekoek was on 41! This latest success confirmed Mustieles’ position as leader of the overall ranking of the UCI Trials World Cup. Behind these two riders who have dominated the category, France’s Théau Courtes gained his first World Cup podium place. Courtes had been promising a top performance since the beginning of the season and he delivered the goods in front of his home crowd. Courtes finished ahead of Spain’s Ion Areitio, France’s Marius Merger and Germany’s Raphael Pils. Competing in his first final, Austria’s Thomas Pechhacker finished seventh, ahead of Benjamin Durville, the third Frenchman to reach the final.
The Men Elite 26-inch competition resulted in a close-fought battle between three riders: World Champion Vincent Hermance, Junior World Champion Jack Carthy and European Champion Gilles Coustellier. It was finally the youngest of the three, Jack Carthy, just 18 years old, who stood on the top step of the podium for the second time in his career, demonstrating a relaxed approach that belies his age. Ultimately there was no doubt about his victory ahead of two of the best trials riders in history. Coustellier has four world titles and Hermance two in the Men Elite 26-inch category. The two older riders tried to sow the seeds of doubt in Jack Carthy’s mind as they came through the most difficult sections, but there was nothing they could do in Méribel – Carthy was clearly the strongest. France’s Nicolas Vuillermot finished in fourth place ahead of four of his compatriots: Kevin Aglae, Guillaume Dunand, Clément Meot and Giacomo Coustellier. Carthy’s victory brought him the leader’s jersey in the 2014 UCI Trials World Cup.
There remain two rounds of the UCI Trials World Cup to decide the 2014 winners, but before that the athletes head to Lillehammer in Norway for the UCI Trials World Championships in the first week of September.