The first title was awarded in the Women Elite category after the final was held on Saturday 27 September. The event was dominated by the winners of the last two rounds of the World Cup, Slovakia’s Tatiana Janickova and Australia’s Janine Jungfels. In a closely-fought battle, the two riders swapped the lead on several occasions. But by the end of the final round it was Jungfels who snatched victory by just two points from World Champion Tatiana Janickova. The suspense lasted right up to the final section where Jungfels managed to hang on to her lead despite a surge from Janickova who completed the best round of the event. Behind the two leaders, the battle for third place was just as intense between the young German rider Nina Reichenbach and Spain’s Gemma Abant. Ultimately it was the German who once again secured a place on a World Cup podium in this her first year at Elite level.
It was this third place combined with her results earlier in the season, and in particular her success in the opening round in Poland, that gave Reichenbach second place overall in the World Cup ahead of Jungfels. But there was no doubt about the occupant of the top step of the World Cup podium – World Champion Tatiana Janickova retained her title for the second year.
The battle was not so close in the Men Elite 26-inch category as Great Britain’s Jack Carthy dominated the weekend’s competition in Antwerp. After winning the semi-final and then the final, Carthy started the Super Final 15 points ahead of Vincent Hermance and 10 in front of Kenny Belaey! The Junior World Champion once again overturned the hierarchy of recent years which has seen the dominance of Hermance, Belaey and the Coustellier brothers. Victory in the 2014 series was the culmination of the meteoric rise of this young pretender on the world trials scene. Carthy secured a first World Cup podium finish in 2012, won a round in 2013 and then three rounds this year on his way to securing the UCI Trials World Cup title. This is the first time that a reigning Junior World Champion has won this prestigious series. Held over five rounds, only the most consistent rider can win the World Cup.
Carthy got the better of two former World Champions in Antwerp: France’s Vincent Hermance and Belgium’s Kenny Belaey. Hermance was runner-up after a ding-dong battle with Belaey. Hermance also overcame Nicolas Vallée, surely one to watch for the future, who despite his young age reached his second final and followed that by qualifying for his first Super Final! This young Frenchman recently won the Trials World Youth Games. The prospects for the discipline are bright with Spain’s Sergi Llongueras, also a Junior, finishing fifth.
In the final World Cup standings, Jack Carthy finished ahead of Vincent Hermance and Gilles Coustellier.
The final event of the season was the Men Elite 20-inch competition. This category also produced a clear winner. World Champion Benito Ros put pressure on his compatriot Abel Mustieles in the final, finishing just five points adrift. But it all went wrong for Ros in the first section of the Super Final where he picked up five points. The competition was decided when Mustieles produced a flawless display in the last four sections, winning for the fifth time this season. With this perfect finish to the event, Mustieles secured overall victory in the Men Elite 20-inch category of the UCI Trials World Cup.
In contrast, the battle for third place in the event and for the overall World Cup standings went right down to the end of the final event. By getting ahead of Ion Areitio in the final, Dutch rider Rick Koekoek secured second place overall. But it was a different story in the Super Final when he could not hold back the challenge of Germany’s Raphael Pils. This was the second time this season that Pils has secured a World Cup podium place behind Mustieles and Ros.
The event in Antwerp marked the end of the 2014 UCI Trials season. The riders now look ahead to next year’s World Cup, starting in Poland in May 2015.