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.