The second edition of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships gets under way in Chengdu, China, this week (November 7-11).
More than 200 athletes from 37 countries will compete for the rainbow jerseys in BMX Freestyle Park, Mountain Bike Eliminator and Trials competitions. It is the second time that the World Championships for these three spectacular young disciplines come together under the Urban Cycling umbrella. It is also the second year the event takes place in Chengdu, where the Chinese athletes will be particularly awaited by the local crowds.
BMX Freestyle Park
UCI World Champion Logan Martin (Australia) will not be defending his rainbow jersey, injured in a training crash in Melbourne just one month out from the competition. However, 2017 silver and bronze medallists Alex Coleborn (GBR) and Colton Walker (USA) are on the start list and will be looking to pull off the perfect run in Chengdu.
Other medal contenders include Croatia’s Martin Rantes, recently crowned overall winner of the UCI World Cup, Venezuelan Daniel Dhers, and the two men who dominated the final World Cup round: Jake Wallwork (Australia) and Dennis Enarson (USA). The talent pool is deep so there are more riders who could take a surprising win. Don't count out American Nick Bruce, third overall in this year’s UCI World Cup despite crashing out in the final round in Chengdu.
Hannah Roberts has dominated the women’s competitions this year and will be looking to defend her world title. An ankle injury during the last World Cup round in Chengdu didn’t prevent the American from taking second place and winning the overall series. Look out for Germany’s Lara Lessman, silver medallist in last year’s worlds, Youth Olympic Games winner this year and second in last week’s World Cup.
The 1km course around Xinhua Park has more technical sections and a modified start and finish compared with last year.
In 2017 France’s Titouan Perrin Ganier, Simon Gegenheimer (Germany) and Lorenzo Serres (France) graced the Worlds Men’s podium in that order. However, it is the Netherlands’ Jeroen van Eck who is in the lead of this year’s UCI MTB Eliminator World Cup powered by citymountainbike.com after six of seven rounds. This year’s season-long series has seen six different winners at each of the six rounds, so anything could happen in Chengdu.
Reigning UCI World Champion in the women’s competition Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland) will not be defending her title, but watch out for last year’s silver medallist Ella Holmegard (Sweden) and bronze medallist Perrine Clauzel (France). However, it is Norway’s Ingrid Boe Jacobsen who has been dominating this year’s UCI World Cup for the discipline with three victories so far. European Champion Iryna Popova (Ukraine) is another strong contender.
The three reigning Trials Elite UCI World Champions are on the start list for the 2018 World Championships: Spain’s Abel Mustieles (Men’s 20”), Great Britain’s Jack Carthy (Men’s 26”) and Germany’s Nina Reichenbach (Women).
However, Mustieles has converted to 26” competition this year and finished fourth in the UCI Trials World Cup, which saw two French athletes take the overall top spots: Nicolas Vallée (1st) and Vincent Hermance (2nd). They join Carthy on the list of top favourites.
Meanwhile last year’s Junior UCI World Champion in the 20” competition, Spain’s Alejandro Montalvo, took the Elite UCI World Cup title this year. Only 18 years old, he will defend his Junior title, leaving the battle for the Elite rainbow jersey to athletes such as fellow Spaniard Ion Areitio, Germany’s Dominik Oswald and Austrian Thomas Pechhacker.
All eyes will be on Germany’s Nina Reichenbach in the Women’s trials competition. The reigning UCI World Champion and UCI World Cup winner will face competition from last year’s silver and bronze medallists Irene Caminos (Spain) and Nadine Kamark (Sweden), third and fifth respectively in this year’s World Cup. Another athlete likely to put pressure on Reichenbach is France’s Manon Basseville, second overall in the 2018 UCI Trials World Cup.
First up on the programme in Chengdu is the trials teams competition which last year saw France claim victory over Germany and Switzerland.