Spain wins gold on opening day of the UCI 2022 Urban Cycling World Championships

Day one of the 2022 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) saw the first medals of this year’s event up for grabs in the trials discipline. Action also included BMX Freestyle Flatland qualifications

Ten teams lined up for the trials teams’ event at the UCI 2022 Urban Cycling World Championships. The maximum number of riders in a trials national team competition is five with one per category: Men Junior 20in; Men Junior 26in; Men Elite 20in; Men Elite 26in; and Women. The minimum number of riders in a trials national team competition is three, each from a different category. Each rider has a maximum two minutes per run to try to obtain a maximum of 200 points up for grabs for each rider. Once all athletes have completed their run, the highest cumulative score wins.

The Italian team kicked off the competition with Cristian Bursi (Men Junior 20in), who scored an impressive 140 points. But Switzerland’s Lucien Leiser (Men Elite 20in) scored a maximum 200 points. The 27-year-old showed the style and grace that won him silver in the individual competition at the 2015 UCI Trials World Championships.

His perfect score stimulated a wave of maximums with Spain and France tied on 600 points after three rides with just two more rides to go. A strong Spanish team featured Nil Benitez, Daniel Cegarra, Daniel Barón , Borja Conejos and Vera Barón. As for France, they were presenting stiff competition in the form of Vincent Hermance, Robin Berchiatti, Louis Grillon, Pierre Chasseuil and Nina Vabre.

The fourth round witnessed another flotilla of maximum scores with Japan’s Ryoga Tsuchiya, Sweden’s Joacim Lundgren and Germany’s Oliver Widmann all scoring their respective team’s first 200 points of the trials team finals in Abu Dhabi.

The welcoming crowd in Abu Dhabi were enjoying world-class trials from the best in the business. And they really did see the best in the business today as Spain maintained the excellence and consistency they’re renowned for to finish the event with 890 points to become 2022 UCI World Champions. Vera Barón smiled as she finished with the knowledge that victory was hers and her country’s.

France won a deserved silver while the German quintet of Nina Reichenbach, Lennart Höchster, Jan Welte, Oliver Widmann and Dominik Oswald took bronze.

BMX Freestyle Flatland arrives in Abu Dhabi

Meanwhile, the BMX Freestyle Flatland qualifiers provided more spectacle after a full day of practice on Tuesday on the newly built flatland stage. In the Men Elite competition, riders from nine different countries were shooting for the top-12 spot that would take them to the semi-finals.

The pressure was on, and several favorites made too many mistakes, failing to make it through. With the heat factored in it became a challenge to complete a faultless run of three minutes. Lindsey Bode (USA) pulled awesome tricks with his foot placed on his stem but it wasn’t enough to qualify as he finished 17th. For Alberto Moya (ESP), Martin Dražil (CZE), Jean-William Prévost (CAN) and Terry Adams (USA), the event surprisingly ended early, too.

The UCI judges look for many criteria including difficulty of tricks, flow, originality and variety of the moves in the run. When you tick all of the boxes, chances are you make it to the next round. UCI’s #1-ranked Flatland rider coming into the competition was Moto Sasaki from Japan. His score of 88.17 points for his near-perfect run during qualification put him on the top of the list followed by Frenchman Alex Jumelin, who even had time to lace up his shoe mid-run to score an 85.00. Japan’s Ito Masato and Kio Hayakawa qualified in third and fourth, respectively, highlighting the depth of talent in Japan's vibrant BMX Flatland scene.

The level of the riding in the Flatland Women class has risen over recent years; it feels like new tricks are being mastered on a weekly basis. Once again, Japan nestled on the top step during the qualification phase with Kirara Nakagawa scoring an 83.33. Aude Cassage (FRA) qualified in second place, edging out Germany’s Julia Preuss. Fourth finalist Mélissa Droll (FRA) finished her run on the buzzer. She’ll look for her first-ever UCI BMX Freestyle Flatland World Championship podium on Friday.

The opening ceremony after the first day of competition was attended by UCI’s president Mr. David Lappartient and Mr. Osama Ahmed Abdullah Al Shafar (UAE), President of the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC). BMX Flatland as well as BMX Park were part of the show, which also included a flag parade of the nations, and a performance by a local group.

The UCI Urban Cycling World Championships are now officially open.