After the BMX Freestyle Park competitions which finished three days ago, the BMX Freestyle Flatland finals were on the programme of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships today following two days of qualifications. Here's a look back at the finals, which fired up the crowd at Glasgow Green.
Cassagne still top of the world!
Last year’s UCI BMX World Champion for BMX Flatland, Aude Cassagne, came to Glasgow (Scotland) to prove that she deserves her position at the highest level of world competition. The 32-year-old Frenchwoman dominated in the qualification phase and continued to impress in the final with her score of 87.66 points, the result of a near-perfect run. The judges rewarded her performance based on flow, difficulty and variety of tricks, and bike control. The various elements of her final two-and-a-half-minute run put her in a different dimension to her rivals.
Brazilian Laetitia Moda came closest with a run of 84.50 points. A newcomer to the international Flatland scene, she will certainly be one to watch in the future. She could well make further progress between now and the next UCI World Championships... and perhaps reach the top?
The future, however, also looks to be coming from Japan. At just 18 years old, Kirara Makagawa and Sakura Kawaguchi, another year younger, finished third and fourth respectively. After qualifying in third, Jeanne Seigneur from France experienced a more difficult final. A few too many small mistakes cost her a podium spot. She finished in fifth place.
Japan passes the rainbow jersey to Yu Shoji
Six of the eight Men’s finalists were relatively experienced riders, yet it was two 21-year-olds who finished in first and second places. In a tough competition, Viki Gomez (ESP), Sietse van Berkel (NED), 2022 UCI World Champion Moto Sasaki (JPN) and his runner-up Masato Ito (JPN) all failed to make the top four in Glasgow. Their experience took them through to the final, but they finished in 8th, 6th, 5th and 7th place respectively.
Canada’s 36-year-old Jean-William Prévost took an early lead after a fast run full of original tricks.
Anyone who follows Matthias Dandois on his social media channels will know that he has given everything in his preparation for this year’s Worlds. The Frenchman won the title in 2021 and was highly motivated to take that rainbow jersey back to France. His score of 88.00 was not going to be enough.
Dandois had to bow down to Yu Shoji, who delivered an exceptional run. The 21-year-old’s fast spinning moves with fast switches were hard to follow but the UCI judges caught it all and gave the Japanese an incredible score of 94.16.
Only his young compatriot Kio Hayakawa appeared in with a chance to top this score – but his final run was not as smooth as his qualification run. He took second place, and Dandois third.