Meanwhile qualifications and semi-finals for BMX Freestyle Park and trials confirmed the riders for the next stages of competition at the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships this weekend.
Men’s BMX Freestyle Flatland: Japanese domination
Alex Jumelin was the first of Friday’s eight finalists who had qualified through the semi-finals earlier in the day. The 44-year-old Frenchman shows no sign of slowing down and demonstrated quick footwork that eventually earned him 5th place.
Spanish veteran Viki Gómez showed he still has tricks that no one else can do, which apparently goes for most of the Flatland riders as everyone seems to have their own style. Creativity is an important aspect of this form of BMX Freestyle and the Spaniard knows that. He just missed out on a podium spot by 1.67 points.
Right now, the Japanese rule. After taking the first three spots of the 2022 UCI BMX Freestyle Flatland World Cup, they have done so again at the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships. BMX Freestyle is about competition, but also about friendships and creating memories – and a podium sweep is something riders will never forget! Gold went to Moto Sasaki, silver to Masato Ito, and bronze to Kio Hayakawa. Three different styles, but well-executed runs full of creativity, originality, flow and style.
Women’s BMX Freestyle Flatland: Cassagne’s class
The level of action in the finals was also incredible in the women’s competition. The clear winner was Aude Cassagne, from France. Her run was arguably the best riding ever witnessed in Women’s Flatland, and her score of 87.00 was well deserved.
The fight for second place was tight between Julia Preuss (GER) and Kirara Nakagawa (JPN), but Preuss (with 74.50) finally edged out the Japanese rider (74.33) to take silver.
Women’s BMX Freestyle Park: nine nations through to the final
Twenty-five riders from 14 nations rode qualification in the women’s Park competition in a bid to make the final 12. The incredible increase in level of competition was evident as women who executed double tailwhips, front flips and backflip variations over the jump box did not necessarily make the cut.
Riders from nine different nations will ride in Sunday’s final. The USA is well represented with Hannah Roberts being the clear leader thanks to an average score of 86.10. The next best qualifiers were Great Britain’s Olympic Champion Charlotte Worthington (82.60), Perris Benegas (USA), Lara Lessmann (GER) and Switzerland’s Olympic bronze medalist Nikita Ducarroz. Laury Perez, in 6th place of qualifications, is France’s hope heading towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Men’s BMX Freestyle Park: 60 athletes battle it out to make the semis
In the Men’s Park, 60 men representing 25 nations went to battle for a top 24 semi-final spot.
Japan’s Rimu Nakamura was best in qualification followed by Argentina’s Jose Torres Gil and Anthony Jeanjean (FRA).
Olympic Gold medalist Logan Martin (AUS) had to get to work after suffering a flat tire during his first run, but the 2021 UCI World Champion made it through by slotting in at 17th. It was great to see youngsters Joji Mizogaki (16), of Japan, and Jaka Remec (17), of Slovenia, hold their own and qualify for the semi-finals in 12th and 22nd place respectively.
Trials finals line-up confirmed
Friday also saw the last of the trials semi-finals in Abu Dhabi, with action from the Men Elite 20in and 26in, confirming the start list for Saturday’s finals.
In the Men Elite 20in, the top three semi-finalists, were Spain’s defending UCI World Champion Borja Conejos (qualifying on 840 points) followed by his compatriot Alejandro Montalvo (810 points), and Great Britain’s Charlie Rolls (780). They will be joined by Eloi Palau (ESP) and Thomas Pechhacker (AUT) and Samuel Hlavatý (SVK).
In the Trials Men Elite 26in semi-finals the top three went with form: Great Britain’s multiple UCI World Champion Jack Carthy (760 points), Spain’s Daniel Barón (690) and France’s three-time UCI World Champion Vincent Hermance (670). The remaining finalists are Frenchman Noah Cardona, Germany’s Oliver Widmann and Marty Vayreda, from Spain.