With two UCI World Champions and three silver medallists, Germany finished the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Doha, Qatar, as the best ranked nation.
The UCI Road World Championships’ Ranking by Nations rewards countries that demonstrate consistency and depth of talent, with points distributed among the top 25 riders in each individual event – time trial and road race, Men and Women from Junior up to Elite.
Introduced at last year’s UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, USA, it encourages a team spirit, with athletes who do not make the podium still earning points for their country.
While Germany’s time trial UCI World Champions Tony Martin (Men Elite) and Marco Mathis (Men U23) certainly earned their nation considerable points, the fact that Germany also had three silver medallists and a total of 16 riders achieving top-25 results across the ten events contributed to the country’s win.
In total, Germany amassed 970 points during the eight days of racing in Doha. The winners were strongly challenged by the USA, which took over the lead of the ranking after the second day of time trials thanks to Amber Neben’s victory in the Women Elite and the gold / bronze double of Brandon McNulty and Ian Garrison in the Men Junior. However, the USA finally succumbed to Germany’s superiority and finished second in the Ranking by Nation with 674 points.
Last year’s Best Nation, the Netherlands, was third in Doha with 642 points.
The BMX Supercross track at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) is currently swarming with talented young athletes from all over the world.
The aim is to detect young riders who have the potential to follow in the footsteps of the UCI WCC’s successful trainees such as Rio 2016 bronze medallist Stefany Hernandez.
For two weeks, 26 athletes from 16 countries are training at the centre in Aigle, Switzerland, under the watchful eye of UCI WCC Coach Thomas Allier and New Zealander Matt Cameron, himself a former UCI WCC trainee who also coaches in New Zealand. The most promising will be invited to join the centre’s high-level training group next year.
“This is a first full-scale BMX talent identification camp held at the WCC for a long time and it is very exciting,” said the centre’s High Performance Manager Belinda Tarling. “We are observing the athletes very closely, not only their sporting abilities but also their behaviour.
“We have to ask ourselves if they are ready to be coached at a high level.”
As well as being put through their paces on the BMX Supercross track, they are being tested in the UCI WCC Laboratory of Sport and Physiology which enables the centre’s experts to analyse each athlete’s morphology, physiological dispositions, technical ability and strength.
Some of the athletes, who are aged between 16 and 21, were nominated for the talent ID camp by their National Federations. Others had already come to Allier’s notice at international competitions.
“We are seeing athletes from all levels,” confirms the UCI WCC coach. “After one week you can already tell which of them could go on to succeed at international level. Physical fitness can be trained up, but if they do not already have the technical ability and aptitude at Junior level, then it is too late,” he said.
“We are also observing their psychological approach and their motivation. We are looking for athletes with a fighting spirit who don’t just give up when things get tough.”
And it is definitely a tough two weeks for the 26 hopefuls, who have been propelled into an intensive routine of two training sessions a day, unheard of until now for the majority.
Despite the differences in their levels, aspirations and backgrounds, the riders are making the most of the camp and forging friendships.
“Some of them were a bit overwhelmed when they arrived and others were more relaxed. But very quickly there was a team spirit which is something I have always observed in my six years coaching at the UCI WCC. The athletes are always united.”
While Allier already has a firm idea of who will be invited to train at the UCI WCC, he will not look too far into the future:
“We will fix immediate goals for those who train here, such as the UCI World Cup and UCI World Championships,” says Allier before adding:
“But any athlete who is selected to join our trainees will no doubt have Tokyo 2020 in the corner of their minds…”
The UCI WCC’s drive to continue the growth of BMX does not stop there: three participants from South Africa, Singapore and Chile are currently on a four-week BMX-specific coaching course.
The presence of raw talent at the UCI World Cycling Centre is giving them the perfect opportunity, guided by our Allier and Cameron, to put their skills into practice
Graham Agassiz has been chasing the top step at Red Bull Rampage for years. The steep and loose Utah desert terrain suits Aggy’s big mountain style, and in addition to the FEST series jams, Rampage has been a big focus for him for the past few seasons.
In 2013 Aggy qualified in 1st place and nearly stomped a finals run that would have surely been a contender for first. In 2014 he repeated the qualifying performance, yet again solidifying his position as one of the riders to watch at this event, but a knee injury during practice kept him from the finals. In 2015 he was the top qualifier for the third year in a row and strung together a run that landed him in 3rd place in the finals. Close, but not quite. And so the chase continued.
Aggy’s run began with this massive chute.
Rampage, as you might gather, is a fickle event. Every athlete who is invited to Rampage is riding a fine line between the run of their life and waiting until next year. After a week of hard labor prepping their line, every single element of a rider’s run is calculated, and those who stand on the top of the box link together a clean top to bottom run with style and amplitude. On those last two, Aggy’s got it.
With his performance in 2015, Aggy would have been pre-qualified for this year’s event, skipping the extra competition runs that he’d been forced to do the past three years. As it turns out, Red Bull changed the structure, and the rider list was invite-only. Of course, Aggy was on that list.
Arguably the most stylish rider at Rampage, and a fan favorite because of it.
Last Friday, Graham Agassiz was on the run that very well would have taken him to his first victory at Rampage when he went down hard on a huge 360 stepdown. He was taken to hospital in St. George, Utah, and diagnosed with a broken pelvis and six-to-eight weeks’ recovery. From there he transferred to Kamloops hospital, where we caught up with Aggy for a first-hand account of the crash. Here are his words:
My run was feeling really good, though I was getting blown once I got to the mid-ridge section of the line and at that point was almost on autopilot just trying to hang on and get down the mountain.
As soon as I initiated the spin, off of the lip it felt like it was going to come around perfect, I remember thinking to myself “I can’t believe I’m about to stomp the biggest move of my life!” But, as soon as I got to 270 degrees in my rotation I could see my landing strip and I could tell right away that I was slightly off of my mark.
The actual drop that took Aggy out. Nobody, not even his fellow competitors, was expecting him to 360 this.
By the time I completed the spin it was too late, I clipped the overhanging rock shelf only two feet to the right of the top of the landing. This then immediately ejected my bike from beneath me, where all I could see was this big boulder protruding from the right side of the landing where all my momentum was being thrown into.
The initial impact was beyond aggressive, as the right side of my torso then slammed and wrapped around this rock, and then I continued to get tossed down the rest of the landing, ragdolling to the bottom. The rush of pain that flooded my body was like nothing I have ever experienced before. I quickly checked to make sure my legs were still working which was a huge relief, but once that wave washed over me I knew it was bad.
Aggy was thankful for the on-site treatment provided by Red Bull and H5 Events.
The pressure of competition definitely played a role in this incident. Looking back I went against all of my knowledge and experience of what I know can happen in these scenarios with the wind. On any other day, I wouldn’t have dropped in. – Aggy
The anticipation of watching from thousands of miles away, of knowing our rider was capable of laying down a winning run and seeing him go down was gut-wrenching. We wish Aggy a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him back on the bike soon.
All images by Ale di Lullo.
All of the staff at Pinkbike would like to wish Aggy a very speedy recovery!
The Element FR gear is improved from one season to the next, refined over the years with input from Greg Minnaar, the racer with more World Cup wins and podiums than any other male rider, ever. Updated graphics for 2017 are still using bold colors, leaving plenty of room to add your own logos, rider name, number, etc. Either that or ride it stock for a super clean look:
We debuted my new signature O’Neal race kit at the Vallnord WC. This is the 5th season now that I’ve been working with O’Neal and it’s great to have direct input into the development of the kit and also that what we create together with the designers is exactly what is then available to buy in the shops. We’ve got some cool stuff in the pipeline as well…watch this space…– Greg Minnaar
If the gear is good enough for Greg then most likely it’s good enough for anyone and everyone. And we pride ourselves in making exactly what Greg rides in also available to buy. Same fabrics, cut, colors and graphics. 2017 Element FR – tested and developed by the world’s best, on the toughest tracks out there. After a busy WC season, our team rider, Benoit Coulanges takes some time out, hitting his local trails wearing the new 2017 Element FR gear:
The perfect race kit! The breathable fabric is ideally suited for World Cup Downhill as well as to ride Enduro when I’m home. The shorts even have two pockets for keys and phone, lots of DH shorts don’t have this. The new 2017 Element FR kit looks aggressive and the color choice is awesome! – Benoit Coulanges
– Lightweight and breathable
– Ideal for DH, AM, and Enduro
– Clean race blocker design
Long-sleeved jersey with mesh panels under arms for extra Ventilation and comfort.
Extra comfort while riding with fast-wicking, quick-drying, breathable and sweat-absorbing fabric.
Bold graphics available in several colors, based on Greg Minnaar’s race winning World Cup kit.
– 2 side zip pockets
– Hard wearing fabric
– Ratchet closure system
– Freedom of Movement
Pockets for lift pass, money, phone and keys.
Heavy duty, durable fabric for tear resistance.
Adjustable ratchet closure system for secure and snug fit and handy hang tab on the back of waist for drying and storage.
Stretch panels on front, seat, and in crotch area.
Shortly before midnight on Saturday, a message appeared on RV Stahlross Obernfeld’s Facebook page: “What a crazy final at the World Cup in St Gallen.” The match in question was a genuine thriller that ended in the event’s first German one-two since 2010.
Obernfeld pair André and Manuel Kopp faced RMC Stein’s Bernd and Gerhard Mlady in a captivating showdown in the seventh round of this year’s UCI Cycle-ball World Cup. With the scores tied at 8-8 after normal time and 10-10 after extra time, Obernfeld finally prevailed 3-2 on penalties to win the 70th edition of the Olma Cup, the oldest cycle-ball tournament in the world. By securing their third triumph in 25 UCI World Cup appearances, the Kopp cousins now top the overall standings once more.
The third-place play-off was an all-Swiss affair as former UCI World Champions RC Winterthur (Peter Jiricek/Marcel Waldispühl) defeated wildcards RMV Mosnang (Timo Reichen/Lukas Schönenberg) 5-1.
Although both home teams made it through the preliminary rounds unbeaten, Winterthur narrowly lost 7-6 to Obernfeld in the semi-final, while Mosnang were soundly beaten 7-2 by Stein in the other last-four encounter.
– What’s next? –
2016 UCI Cycle-ball World Cup #8: Wendlingen (Germany), 29 October
Last year’s results
Wendlingen did not hold a UCI Cycle-ball World Cup event in 2015. The last tournament took place here in 2012.
Wendlingen is a German town near Stuttgart, with a population of 16,000. Its indoor cycling pedigree stretches back to 1909. Local rider Andrea Barth won three women’s artistic cycling titles at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships between 1994 and 1996, and since then, the town has tasted success in this discipline at both domestic and European youth level.
Wendlingen’s most recent cycle-ball triumph dates back to 1973, when the Mayer brothers became German youth champions. Local heroes Kevin Seever and Frank Schmid are representing the town in this season’s UCI World Cup. Playing in the fourth tier as recently as 2012, the pair were promoted to the 2nd Bundesliga last year.
With the retirement of several long-serving teams, cousins Bernd and Gerhard Mlady are among Germany’s brightest cycle-ball hopes. Winners of two UCI World Cup qualifying tournaments so far this season, the men from Bavaria have high hopes for the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart in early December. For their first appearance in the UCI World Cup in 2014, the Mladys qualified for the Final, finishing in 6th place. Last year they improved to take 4th place in the Final.
2016 National League – 1st
2014 National Cup – 1st
2015 National Championship – 2nd
2016 National Cup – 3rd
2014 National Championship – 3rd
2015 UCI World Cup Final – 4th
2014 European Cup – 4th
2010, 2011 U-23 European Cup – 1st
2007, 2008 U-19 European Championship – 1st