Cycling’s last six World Championship titles for 2014 were awarded to the specialists in artistic cycling and cycle-ball at the weekend in the Czech Republic.
Some 5000 spectators from various participating nations ensured that the atmosphere in the city of Brno’s sport hall was constantly fired up. As is the tradition, the athletes from all nations and their fans celebrated their performances together after each day of competition.
In total, nearly 140 athletes from 17 countries took part in the World Championships which took place from November 21 to 23.
Open Pairs: Bugner brothers confirm
The first World Champions of the competition were the German brothers André and Benedikt Bugner who successfully defended their title in the Open Pairs won in Basel, Switzerland last year.
With 162.65 points, they were comfortably in front of second placed Austrians Fabien Allgäuer and Adriana Mathis (142.73) and their fellow Germans Michael Rauch and Melissa Breitenbach (135.11).
The brothers had decided to deduce the risk in the final, taking out a difficulty factor that had caused them a slight wobble in the qualifications. André Bugner explained: “A fall at this point would have cost a lot of points. In the final, we showed our skills and were more sure than in the qualifications.”
Single Women: fifth title for Biethan
With four World titles already to her name, Germany’s Corinna Biethan (formerly Hein) was looking to claim her fifth gold medal in Brno, her first under her married name. The six-time German Champion did not disappoint, finishing with 178.02 points, just short of last year when she became the first ever woman to reach the magic score of 180 points at a World Championships.
Austria’s Adriana Mathis finished just over 7 points behind Biethan, with Nicole Frybortova (Slovakia) taking the bronze medal.
Quadri Women: Swiss get it right
The Swiss foursome of Céline Burlet, Flavia Zuber, Melanie and Jennifer Schmid put on a masterful demonstration to take the world title in the ACT 4 category. Despite a mistake at the beginning of their freestyle programme, they kept their nerve and went on to provide a demanding and near flawless show. The four women beat the German team by nearly five points.
It was a nail-biting battle for third place with Austria (156.38) just edging out fourth placed Slovakia (155.00) for the bronze medal.
Pairs Women: German double
Last year Katrin Schultheis and Sandra Sprinkmeier lost their rainbow jersey to fellow Germans Jasmin Soika and Katharina Wurster. One year later they have claimed back the title, relegating the 2013 World Champions to second place.
World Champions in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, the winners in Brno were visibly moved by their victory and celebrated in a flood of tears. The multiple World Champions finished the competition with 160.92 points compared to 156.57 points for the silver medalists.
Switzerland’s Anja and Bettina Weber secured bronze with 114.95 points.
Single Men: Niedermeier goes from silver to gold
Before the World Championships, Germany’s Michael Niedermeier declared: “my goal is the title.”
His confidence and ambitions paid off. Silver medalist in 2013 behind David Schnabel, 23-year-old Niedermeier is 2014 World Champion in the Single Men artistic cycling category. In the absence of multiple World Champion Schnabel, Niedermeier finished with a comfortable win in the final, scoring 202.55 points compared to 187.51 for silver medalist and fellow German Simon Puls.
Hong Kong’s Chin To Wong took the bronze medal for the second consecutive year.
Cycle-ball: Austria dominates again
Since 2010, Austria has had a taste of all three different metals at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships. Bronze in 2010 and silver in 2012, they were World Champions in 2011, 2013 and… 2014.
In Brno, the current composition of the Austrian team Patrick Schnetzer and Markus Bröll looked comfortable throughout the tournament. They put on a convincing performance in the final, beating the Swiss duo of Roman Schneider and Dominik Planzer 4:1. World Champios in 2012, the Swiss duo won bronze last year.
The local Czech fans had plenty to celebrate in the play-off for bronze when the home team Pavel Smid and Petr Skotak beat Germans Uwe Berner and Matthias König to claim the third spot on the podium. The Czech team’s performance was particularly remarkable, coming 10 years after their 2004 World Championship title in Tata, Hungary.