Day four of the 2022 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) delivered a wealth of memorable competition in trials and BMX Freestyle Park. As well as the crowning of all the trials individual UCI World Champions, 24 men battled it out for a place in tomorrow’s BMX Freestyle Park finals.
Trials Women Elite: Reichenbach’s high five
The trials Women Elite kicked off a day of world-class action with reigning UCI World Champion Vera Barón (ESP) and four-time UCI World Champion Nina Reichenbach (GER) the two to watch. Nevertheless, the likes of young gun Hilda Andersson (SWE), who’s been in sublime form this season, could not be overlooked.
After two of the five sections, it was going to form as Barón and Reichenbach both registered two perfect 60-point efforts. Both fought valiantly over the next three sections but it was the German who came out on top with an incredible 290 points. Barón had to settle for silver, while Andersson won an impressive bronze.
“I’m so, so happy,” said Reichenbach after her winning exploits. “Mentally it was one of the toughest finals.”
The Trials Women Elite Finals came to an epic climax in #AbuDhabi2022.— UCI Trials (@UCI_Trials) November 12, 2022
Congratulations to now 5th time UCI World Champion Nina Reichenbach 🇩🇪 and to Vera Baron 🇪🇸 and Hilda Andersson 🇸🇪 for joining her on the podium. 🌈🏆
📹 Tom Weber pic.twitter.com/vCJfbFGAK3
Trials Men Elite 20in: Spain’s clean sweep
The trials Men Elite 20in finals turned out to be an event for the ages with arguably the highest level of competition the category has seen. After the first section, four riders scored a perfect 60 points: the three Spaniards who made the podium in 2021 - defending UCI World Champion Borja Conejos, Alejandro Montalvo (2nd in 2021) and Eloi Palau (3rd in 2021) - as well as 2018 UCI World Champion Thomas Pechhacker (AUT).
Fast-forward to section four of five and the Spaniards were dominating with Montalvo leading after a quartet of runs where he didn’t drop a single point. Incredibly, his magnificent 240 points was only 10 points ahead of Palau with Conejos still in contention for gold on 220 points.
Come the final section, Montalvo’s perfect run came to an end as he could only register 20 points. Meanwhile, Palau continued his imperious form, recording a perfect 60 points for a winning 290 points, meaning he only dropped 10 points out of a maximum of 300 over the five runs. Conejos showed what a competitor he is by grabbing 40 points to tie with Montalvo, but Montalvo took silver thanks to his number of perfect runs.
Trials Men Elite 26in: Carthy makes it 10
There was one question on everyone’s lips come the final trials event of the day, the Men Elite 26in final: could Great Britain’s Jack Carthy regain his UCI World title and, in the process, win the 10th rainbow jersey of his glittering career?
On paper, he wouldn’t have things his own way thanks to a stellar cast of trials riders… and so it proved as, after section two, three riders sat at the top of the leaderboard on 110 points: Germany’s Oliver Widmann, former UCI World Champion Vincent Hermance (FRA) and Carthy.
After section four, despite the best efforts of the rest, Carthy looked set for that magical 10th rainbow jersey, holding a 30-point lead over both Widmann and Spain’s Daniel Barón, both on 200 points.
Jack Carthy held his nerve in the final section to claim victory once again, with 260 points. But it was close. Barón earned a perfect 60-points to tie with Carthy, but the Brit won by virtue of his three perfect runs compared to the Spaniard’s one. Widmann took bronze with 220 points.
As for the Men Junior 20in competition, France’s Robin Berchiatti scored a fine 240 points to take gold ahead of Spain’s Nil Benitez in silver. Finland’s Niilo Stenvall won bronze.
The Men Junior 26in competition saw more success for Spain thanks to gold medallist Diego Garrues. Teammate Daniel Cegarra won silver with France’s Titouan Corre winning bronze.
BMX Freestyle Park Men: Twelve finalists decided
Tension was high as the 24 semi-finalists vied for one of the 12 spots in Sunday’s finals. With a format of two 60-second runs and the best run counting towards a final score, the riders can risk to attempt their biggest tricks.
After some amazing performances, the six riders qualified to join the first heat of six on Sunday are Costa Rica’s Kenneth Tencio, Brandon Loupos (AUS), Marin Ranteš (CRO), Daniel Sandoval (USA) Rim Nakamura (JPN) and Anthony Jeanjean (FRA).
The best qualifiers from today’s semi-finals were Justin Dowell (USA) with rank six, Kieran Reilly (GBR) with fifth place and the young Marcus Christopher (USA) with four. The top three were Olympic silver medalist Daniel Dhers (VEN) in third, José Torres Gil (ARG) in second and Logan Martin (AUS) taking the top spot. These top six riders will join the second heat of tomorrow’s finals.
As well as battling for the rainbow jersey, the riders will have the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in their minds: the top two from tomorrow’s final will secure their nation an Olympic spot for Paris 2024.
Tomorrow will also see the final of the Women’s BMX Freestyle Park competition. The finalists were confirmed on Friday, with women from nine nations making it through to the final twelve.