Trials: New names challenged the world’s best in 2013

Trials: New names challenged the world’s best in 2013

00trialsElite Women: Janickova leads the way
After years of domination from Switzerland’s Karin Moor, who retired in 2011 after winning her ninth world title, it appeared the way was clear for Gemma  Abant (World Champion in 2008, 2010 and 2012) to take over the reins. But that was without counting on the presence of the young gun from Slovakia, Tatiana Janickova, already bronze medalist in 2010 at the tender age of 16, and again in 2012.

2013 that will go down in the history books as the year of Janickova’s veritable explosion onto the Elite Trials scene. Crowned World Champion in Pietermaritzburg and undefeated in the World Cup, she is opening the way for a new generation of athletes and shaping the future of Women’s Trials.

Elite Men 20”: Mustieles at last
2013 was also the year that nine-time World Champion Benito Ros Charral, unbeaten since 2007, was toppled from his throne. After his two Junior world titles in 2008 and 2009, Spain’s Abel Mustieles Garcia proved he had what it takes to break his fellow countryman’s stronghold and win the Elite Men’s 20” category. His performance was no flash in the pan: Mustieles had a perfect season, winning the World Cup as well as the rainbow jersey after an unforgettable final that took place in torrential rain. He is now World Number 1 and looks set to remain at the top of the hierarchy for a while. France’s Aurélien Fontenoy pulled off an exploit at the 2013 World Championships by sneaking in between the two Spanish athletes to take second place.

An eye should also be kept on another Spanish athlete, Bernat Seuba, who took the world title in the Juniors category in front of Austria’s Thomas Pecchacker and France’s Alex Rudeau.

Elite Men 26” : France continues to dominate
France has always dominated the 26” category (14 titles since 1994) and once again demonstrated its strength at the World Championships in South Africa. With no less than five of eight finalists, they were well placed to dominate the podium. 2012 World Champion Gilles Coustellier, who has four world titles to his name, managed only second place this year behind fellow Frenchman Vincent Hermance. It was a second world title for Hermance after 2007, who confirmed his successful season with a demonstration of all-round skills and nerves of steel. Meanwhile Belgium’s Kenny Belaey, absent throughout the season due to injury, made a remarkable comeback to take third place at the World Championships. The three athletes on the podium have 10 titles between them.

Junior Men 26”: Watch out for Carthy
Although the athletes at the head of the Elite 26” category have been prominent on the scene for several years, Junior World Champion Jack Carthy is already representing a danger to their hold on the discipline. The young British athlete has already graced the podiums of several World Cup events, and even took victory straight after the World Championships. Carthy has shaken up the world Elite hierarchy by taking third place in the UCI rankings at the tender age of 17. He will be the one to watch next year.

Méribel voted best event
It was not only the athletes who were rewarded for their skill and effort in 2013: for the first time an award went to the best event of the UCI Trials World Cup. Athletes, officials and the press took part in the vote, with first place going to Méribel (France), organizers of the fourth round of the 2013 series.

2013 certainly produced some eye-opening performances and it will be interesting to see how this develops next year:  the season will open in Cracovie (Poland) on May 30.

iXS European Downhill Cup Tahnée Seagrave and Slawomir Lukasik succeed

iXS European Downhill Cup Tahnée Seagrave and Slawomir Lukasik succeed

Another round of the iXS European Downhill Cup is in the books. At the third venue of this year’s European Cup in Pila, Italy, Tahnée Seagrave and Slawomir Lukasik were the rather unexpected winners. And at least on Sunday, the conditions were nearly perfect and provided 350 riders from 22 nations with a lot of fun.

Since 2010, Pila is a classic venue and annual host for the European Downhill Cup. The little ski resort is situated near Aosta and provides a breathtaking view with its 1800 meters above sea level. This year’s track was prepared by none other than Corrado Herin who is also a former World cup winner. And he did a very good job: The 2600 meter course with 500 vertical meters to play with demanded a lot of skill from each and every rider.

The weather on Saturday was dominated by a lot of rain and a thunderstorm that began soon after the start of the Elite Men seeding run. Due to these rather unfortunate conditions and a nearly destroyed track, this first timed run in the Elite Men category had to be cancelled and postponed until Sunday morning. The Elite Women category was dominated by Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI – Gstaad Scott) who had shown her talent already in the GoPro Course Check and repeated this with a time of 4:38.269 minutes and a 10 second lead in qualifying.

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Tahnée Seagrave and Slawomir Lukasik succeed in Pila

Another round of the iXS European Downhill Cup is in the books. At the third venue of this year’s European Cup in Pila, Italy, Tahnée Seagrave and Slawomir Lukasik were the rather unexpected winners. And at least on Sunday, the conditions were nearly perfect and provided 350 riders from 22 nations with a lot of fun.

Since 2010, Pila is a classic venue and annual host for the European Downhill Cup. The little ski resort is situated near Aosta and provides a breathtaking view with its 1800 meters above sea level. This year’s track was prepared by none other than Corrado Herin who is also a former World cup winner. And he did a very good job: The 2600 meter course with 500 vertical meters to play with demanded a lot of skill from each and every rider.

The weather on Saturday was dominated by a lot of rain and a thunderstorm that began soon after the start of the Elite Men seeding run. Due to these rather unfortunate conditions and a nearly destroyed track, this first timed run in the Elite Men category had to be cancelled and postponed until Sunday morning. The Elite Women category was dominated by Emilie Siegenthaler (SUI – Gstaad Scott) who had shown her talent already in the GoPro Course Check and repeated this with a time of 4:38.269 minutes and a 10 second lead in qualifying.

Tahnée Seagrave – EDC Pila 2013

Sunday’s training session had to be reduced to only 2 hours – after that the seeding run had to be continued. The weather was on its best behavior again, the track was repaired and less dusty and the riders were provided with nearly perfect conditions again. The winner of the Elite Men seeding run came from Switzerland this time: Lutz Weber (SUI – iXS Gravity Union), the Swiss Vice-Champion not only set the best time, but also provided the perfect basis for an exciting race.

In the finals of the Masters category Paolo Alleva (ITA – Team Scout/Nukeproof) took the win and edged out seeding run fastest Stencel Rostislav (CZE – Bikeplac racing) who went second in Pila, but still remains on top of the overall standings. The podium was completed by Manuel dal Pozzo (ITA – Scout/Nukeproof).

In the U17 category it got really exciting this time. Due to the varying winners of the single races, the overall standings also keep changing constantly. At the moment, Silas Grandy (GER – Moto Club Faro) is the one to beat in his category after he was Spicak’s fastest and also managed to win again this week, followed by Loris Revelli (ITA – Argentina Bike) and Brad Swinbank (GBR – Steve Peat Syndicate).

The U17 female category Viktoria Gimenez (FRA – Roigo racing Les angles) became Tahnée Seagrave’s successor as the only participant of her category. And regarding Seagrave’s achievement today, this might be the start of a similarly bright future for the 16-year-old Gimenez.

The 18-year-old Tahnée Seagrave (GBR – FMD Racing) herself was one of the first women down the hill after a flat in qualifying. And when she placed herself in the Red Bull Hot Seat with a time of 4:40.339 minutes, she stayed there: nobody was able to take the lead away from her. After a solid but moderate 13th place in Pila in 2012, not even the odds-on favorite Emilie Siegenthaler could beat her this year. While Siegenthaler went second, Zarja Cernilogar (SLO – Blackthorn) ended up in third and extended her lead in the overall standings.

The Elite Men category’s participants had to face harder conditions this time, as there was not exactly a lot of time to relax between training session, seeding run and the finals. In the meantime the sun had gotten stronger and the temperature increased. When Matthew Walker (NZL – Kingpin Bikes) put himself in the Hot Seat for two hours (!) he obviously enjoyed a cold Red Bull under his straw hat. The first one to get close to his time was his compatriot Bryn Dickerson. But Slawomir Lukasik (POL – Fro Pro) did not agree with this New Zealand double and finally dislodged Walker from the Hot Seat. There were only five riders left on top of the hill and every single one of them was eager to win. The first one was Wyn Masters (NZL – Team Bulls), who could not reach his New Zealand role models. After that, Ziga Pandur (SLO – Unior Tools Team) crossed the finish line with a time 3 seconds slower than Lukasik’s. Even Dominik Gspan (SUI – EWZ Mountainbiketeam Loop) and Joseph Connell (GBR – SC Intense) did not reach the best time.
Last man down the hill was Lutz Weber, but he also failed to edge out Lukasik for victory and ended up in seventh place. Lukasik won this third race of the iXS European Downhill Cup ahead of Walker and Gspan, whereas Ziga Pandur took the lead in the overall standings in the Elite Men category and pushed the absent Robin Wallner (SWE – Ream W-Racing) in second, followed by Joseph Connell in third.

Pila is definitely one of the most popular venues of the European Cup and demonstrated its good reputation once more in 2013. And – seriously – a little rain never stopped a mountain bike race! After a short break, the Cup will be continued in Switzerland at the Wiriehorn. All other race dates and information can be found on  ixsdownhillcup.com or at facebook.com/iXS.Downhill.Cup

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