Final of UCI Trials World Cup: the race for the titles and the general rankings

Final of UCI Trials World Cup: the race for the titles and the general rankings

Final of UCI Trials World Cup: the race for the titles and the general rankings

Kenny Belaey, ranked 8th in the UCI ranking
Kenny Belaey, ranked 8th in the UCI ranking

The 2014 UCI Trials World Cup will end this weekend with the final, which will take place from the 26th to the 28th September in the town of Antwerp, in Belgium. As we approach this last race of the year, the leaders are Tatiana Janickova in the Elite Women, Abel Mustieles (Elite Men 20″) and Jack Carthy (Elite Men 26″). But who will be donning the winners’ jerseys? Here’s an overview.

In the Elite Women, it will be the World Champion Tatiana Janickova who will be wearing, after completing 4 rounds, the ranking leader’s jersey. Each of this season’s races has been fiercely contested, with no less than four different young women on the highest step of the podium: Nina Reichenbach in Krakow, Gemma Abant in Pra Loup, Janine Jungfels in Méribel and lastly Tatiana Janickova in Moutier last week. However, only the World Champion has been on all the podiums this season. This consistency has put her in a strong position to be the overall winner in Antwerp, as she did last year. With 680 points, she is 90 points in front of Nina Reichenbach, who is the only rider who can overtake her. For this to happen, Reichenbach would have to win and Janickova finish outside the top four. This outcome is very unlikely, but in Trials anything is possible. Kristina Sykorova, Debi Studer and Janine Jungfels will be fighting for third place in the general rankings. These five competitors will compete for a place on the podium, but there are also two outsiders: Perrine Devahive, who will be riding in front of her home crowd, and Romina Fix, who is making her return to the World Cup. Rendez-vous on Saturday 27th for the Elite Women grand final.

In the Men Elite 20”, the Spaniard Abel Mustieles is untouchable, having won four victories in four rounds! Victory in the overall rankings is his for the taking as, with 800 points, he has more than a 200-point advantage over the two challengers. In contrast, in the race for the podium for the World Cup overall rankings, there are three very closely matched riders, for whom everything is still possible: the Spanish rider Ion Areitio (530 points), the Dutchman Rick Koekoek (520 points) and the German rider Raphael Pils (485 points). The suspense will be greatest in the sections, especially between Areitio and Koekoek, because the one who finishes in front will also get an advantage in the general rankings, and will therefore be on the final podium. For Pils, things are more complicated, as he must get his best result of the season if he is to overtake them. The World Champion Benito Ros, who has missed two rounds this year, will be in Flanders with a view to winning the Belgian event, but without any particular hopes for the general podium. The other riders who could cause an upset in the race for the medals are the Frenchmen Merger and Courtes, the German rider Lucas Krel, the Austrian Thomas Pechhacker and the Swiss Lucien Leiser. Benjamin Durville and Jan Kocis, on the other hand, will be absent due to injury.

The British rider Jack Carthy, Junior World Champion, is in an ideal position to ride to victory, for the first time in his career, in the general rankings of the Elite Men 26” World Cup. Following four podiums, including two triumphs in the last two rounds, he has distinguished himself from his two French opponents. With 700 points, he has an 80-point advantage over Vincent Hermance, and a 110-point one over the World Champion Gilles Coustellier. If he gets up on the podium at Antwerp, Jack Carthy will win the World Cup at only 18 years of age!, which would be a “first” in the history of this discipline. Vincent Hermance is the only rider who can close the gap, but for that to happen he has to win the event and hope that Jack Carthy is off the podium, and preferably not even in fourth place. Gilles Coustellier knows that he can’t win overall, but the fight for second place against his countryman promises to be absolutely passionate, because if he wins – or if there are two places between them – he will snatch second place from Vincent Hermance right at the death.

The Belgian rider Kenny Belaey will do everything to win on home ground and move up the general rankings, having got on a World Championship podium at Lillehammer. His countryman Iciar van den Bergh, once again in 9th place in Moutier, has the chance to finish his season brilliantly with a participation in a final. The same goes for the Frenchmen Kevin Aglae, Giacomo Coustellier, Nicolas Vuillermot and Guillaume Dunand. But what if, as in Switzerland, a surprise came in the form of the new boys, Spanish rider Sergi Llongueras and the Frenchman Nicolas Vallée, who have now tasted their first World Cup and would like to repeat the experience as quickly as possible?

As last year, Antwerp will be a great World Cup event. It will take place once more on the magnificent Place de la Mairie. This is an event absolutely not to be missed, at the end of which we will know who will succeed Tatiana Janickova, Abel Mustieles and Gilles Coustellier, the laureates of the 2013 season here at Antwerp.

List of participants
Programme
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2014 UCI Trials World Cup: Janickova, Carthy and Mustieles – series leaders show the way in Moutier

2014 UCI Trials World Cup: Janickova, Carthy and Mustieles – series leaders show the way in Moutier

2014 UCI Trials World Cup: Janickova, Carthy and Mustieles – series leaders show the way in Moutier

The Men Elite 20" podium
The Men Elite 20″ podium

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).

2014 UCI Trials World Cup: Moutier welcomes the new World Champions

2014 UCI Trials World Cup: Moutier welcomes the new World Champions

2014 UCI Trials World Cup: Moutier welcomes the new World Champions

Lucien Leiser (SUI) ranked on the 7th place at the Word Cup Men Elite 20"

 

Lucien Leiser (SUI) ranked on the 7th place at the Word Cup Men Elite 20″

 

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.

List of registered participants
Programme
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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.

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Great Britain Dominates Downhill

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Great Britain Dominates Downhill

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Great Britain Dominates Downhill

Manon Carpenter and Gee Atherton as Team GB grabbed 5 out of the 6 DHI Elite medals in contention
Manon Carpenter and Gee Atherton as Team GB grabbed 5 out of the 6 DHI Elite medals in contention

All results from the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships

The good weather that has blessed these Championships continued, but the dry conditions made the Downhill track rough and full of loose gravel sections, with many riders flatting or crashing.

American Jill Kintner set the first sub-four minute time for the women, which would be good enough for fifth. Kintner’s time stood up through one rider before Tahnee Seagrave (Great Britain) knocked four seconds off it to take the Hot Seat. Seagrave held the lead until Manon Carpenter came down second from last and took the lead below 3:50. However, the defending champion, Rachel Atherton (Great Britain) was setting new fast times at each split and looked to be on her way to another win, until a mistake near the bottom of the course cost her the win by a mere 88-thousandths of a second.

“I didn’t expect this win,” said Carpenter, “I was struggling to go fast on this track. But I wanted to do my best, and I expected it to be a close race. I had an almost perfect run, so I knew that I had done the best that I could. It was really close, and I had resigned myself to being second, even as Rachel was crossing the line, so it’s pretty bonkers to win.”

The men’s race saw a steady drop in the leading time as rider after rider chipped away at the top time. Australian Bryn Atkinson was the first to go under 3:30, but faster riders were coming. Brook MacDonald (New Zealand), with 15 riders to go, set a time that stood until American Neko Mulally came through nearly a second faster, despite having to ride the entire course with no chain after his broke in the start house. Mulally finished fourth, but surely would have been in the medals without his mechanical problems.

Former champions Sam Hill (Australia) and Danny Hart (Great Britain) crashed, as did defending champion Greg Minnaar (South Africa), who also flatted. Gee Atherton, riding fourth from last, managed to avoid the mistakes made by others to knocked 2.2 seconds off the leading time.

Second from last, Troy Brosnan (Australia) managed to finish within 0.566 seconds of Atherton, leaving Josh Bryceland (Great Britain), the World Cup champion, as the only rider who could possibly beat Atherton. Bryceland was faster at both time splits, but mistimed a landing on the final jump, fracturing his foot but, remarkably, still managing to cross the finish line second to Atherton.

“World championships is always a special race, and everyone steps their game up,” commented Atherton. “You can’t afford to do a steady and smooth run, you have to keep pushing faster and faster. My run was okay, it was messy, there were some mistakes, but I think it’s that kind of track. I wasn’t pleased with the run, but I made it to the bottom, and that’s all you can ask for. I wasn’t confident, but you couldn’t tell until the other riders came down. Sure enough, it was fast enough to take the win.”

Bryceland was eventually brought to hospital to undergo surgery.

France topped the nations table with 12 medals, followed by Switzerland (8) and Great Britain (7).

Next edition of the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships will be in Vallnord, Andorra, between 23 and 27 August.

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Trials competitions end with Gilles Coustellier’s fifth title

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Trials competitions end with Gilles Coustellier’s fifth title

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Trials competitions end with Gilles Coustellier’s fifth title

From left to right: Aurelien Fontenoy (FRA), Gilles Coustellier (FRA) and Kenny Belaey (BEL)
From left to right: Aurelien Fontenoy (FRA), Gilles Coustellier (FRA) and Kenny Belaey (BEL)

Jack Carthy’s success was no surprise; since Meribel he has led in the UCI World Cup trials! In second place was the Spanish rider Sergi Llongueras, who was the only rider capable of maintaining a minimum of suspense. He finished with 7 points more than the World Champion. The third place result became clearer in the last moments, following the zero count between the German rider Dominik Oswald and the Frenchman Nicolas Vallée. In the end, it was the German who got up on to the third step of the podium, which enabled him to pick up his third medal in this World Championship (Nations World Champion with Germany and Junior Men 20 World Champion).

In the Elite Men 26, Gilles Coustellier moved ahead in the first sections. Strengthened by this excellent start, he continued to increase his lead, finishing with 16 points on the most physical sections. He thereby gained his 5th title, which makes him the most titled rider in history. His countryman Aurelien Fontenoy occupied the 2nd step of the podium. In spite of the fatigue resulting from the previous day’s final, he rode impressively, calling on his reserves of strength. After the silver in the Elite Men 20 last year, he is now Vice-champion in the Elite Men 26.

The Belgian rider Kenny Belaey, who is used to being on the podium, won the bronze medal, despite having a very poor start.

Vincent Hermance, who had won the title last year, finished just off the podium.

The 2015 edition of the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships will be in Vallnord, Andorra .
(31 August – 6 September)

See here for all results

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Absalon Takes Fifth Title & Pendrel Wins Her Second Title

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Absalon Takes Fifth Title & Pendrel Wins Her Second Title

UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships: Absalon Takes Fifth Title & Pendrel Wins Her Second Title

Monza F1 GP? No, Hafjell UCI MTB & Trials World Championships with Nino Shurter (SUI) and winner Julien Absalon (FRA) celebrating at XCO Men Elite podium ceremony
Monza F1 GP? No, Hafjell UCI MTB & Trials World Championships with Nino Shurter (SUI) and winner Julien Absalon (FRA) celebrating at XCO Men Elite podium ceremony

The weather continues to favour the Championships, with summer-like conditions bringing out thousands of fans. The local Norwegian spectators were hoping to see home favourite Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa win her fifth title, but the mountain biking legend could only manage ninth.

Catharine Pendrel, who won the title in 2011, dominated the six lap women’s race from the start, opening a 17 second gap on Irina Kalentieva (Russia) and Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) in the first lap. Wloszczowska gradually fell off the pace, with Kalentieva holding Pendrel to a 35 second lead over the next few laps. Behind, Lea Davison of the United States had steadily worked her way up to sit in third with two laps to go.

Pendrel’s lead was up to 43 seconds on the final lap when she became the latest of many riders to suffer a flat on the sharp rocks scattered throughout the course. Luckily, she was close to a technical zone and had a quick wheel change, to maintain her lead and finish 21 seconds ahead of Kalentieva. Davison took third, 43 seconds back.

“I like to race from the front,” confirmed Pendrel, “and when there’s an opportunity to take the lead you should go for it. That’s always the kind of racer I have been. If you want to win the Worlds you have got to be willing to take some chances and go out strong. When I came through the finish line after the first lap and saw that I was 20 seconds faster than my Team Relay lap, I was pretty happy, and I felt that I could maintain it.”

“I knew Irina was coming behind me, and I knew that she had won here the year before [at the World Cup], so I had to stay on the gas. Then, with half a lap to go, I got a front puncture and I was lucky to have amazing technical support, and the fastest wheel change ever, and get back on the bike to win the world championship.”

This year has been a season-long battle between the two top ranked male riders in the world – Julien Absalon and defending champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland. Schurter had his usual fast start, and after the first lap in the seven lap race was nearly 30 seconds ahead of his French rival.

However, Absalon, who was using a full suspension bike in competition for the first time, steadily chased down Schurter and caught him in the fourth lap. One lap later, and Absalon was 17 seconds clear, proving to be much stronger on the climbs. He pulled away over the remaining two laps to win by nearly two minutes, completing a near perfect season that has seen him the French national title, the European title, the UCI World Cup title and now the rainbow jersey of UCI World Champion.

Schurter hung on for second, with Marco Fontana (Italy) overcoming a flat tire to beat Moritz Milatz (Germany) by five seconds for the bronze medal.

“I am very happy to win this rainbow jersey for the fifth time,” said Absalon. “It has been a long time since the last time, in 2007. Today it was almost perfect. I did a bad start and had a little crash in the wood section but I kept going and tried to go step by step to catch the lead. When I got on Nino’s wheel I was able to pass him on the climb.”

“I made a really good choice to use a full suspension bike because it is such a bumpy track, but it was a little risky because this was my first race with a full suspension bike. So it was a risk, but a good one.”

The World Championships conclude on Sunday with the crowd-favourite Downhill competition. Catch all the action on Redbull.tv