All eyes will be on the city of Chengdu, China, from 6 to10 November, for the third edition of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships. With competitors battling it out to be crowned the 2019 UCI World Champion in their discipline, this is the biggest and most important event in the trials, BMX Freestyle Park and – new for this year’s event – BMX Freestyle Flatland calendars.
Here are four reasons to follow this year’s competition.
1. Non-stop action
The disciplines that make up the Urban Cycling World Championships are amongst the most spectacular governed by the UCI.
If you’ve yet to witness competitive trials, imagine having to hop, leap and hook your bike over a series of incredibly difficult obstacles, one after the other, all within a couple of minutes. Without putting your feet down. It’s tough, it’s technical, and it’s spectacular.
With huge airs and amazingly technical tricks, the action in BMX Freestyle Park is off the charts from start to finish. Riders can use the course consisting of ramps, boxes, bowls and rails however they please, and are judged on the height of their airs, the variety and complexity of their tricks and, crucially, how creatively they use the park. Expect huge tricks and gravity-defying figures.
BMX Freestyle Flatland features in the Urban Cycling World Championships for the first time this year. If you’re new to watching Flatland, prepare for your jaw to hit the floor when you witness the incredibly intricate tricks and combos these athletes can perform. As opposed to the Freestyle specialists, the Flatland riders perform their tricks on smooth, flat terrain without ramps, jumps or rails.
2. Short but very sweet
If you like full-throttle thrills condensed into as a short a time possible, then you’re in for a treat. Trials riders get two minutes to complete each course, BMX Freestyle Park competitors have two runs of 60 seconds each, while in BMX Flatland, rounds last for three minutes.
Extremely tight time limits mean the riders have to come out of the blocks firing on all cylinders and keep up that intensity throughout the event. There’s little time for pacing or tactics, these events are all about giving it everything you’ve got right from the word go – which makes for seriously thrilling viewing.
3. Intense rivalries
In each discipline, there are established riders and those looking to make their mark by unseating them. Germany’s Nina Reichenbach was dominant in Women’s trials for the past three seasons, but this year 15-year-old Vera Barón of Spain has already made a huge impact on the Elite scene, winning the overall UCI Trials World Cup.
British rider Jack Carthy has been the driving force in Men’s 26” trials, winning the last three UCI World Championships. “I’ve trained so hard all year and it’s really paid off for me. I’ve been really happy with my riding so far and I can’t wait to hopefully retain my World Championship title in China,” he told us.
Current Women’s UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Champion, Perris Benegas of the USA, excitedly told of her trip to Chengdu on social media. “Just like that we are heading to China for the final World Cup followed by World Championships… Let’s gooooo!”.
19-year-old American Justin Dowell is the current Men’s UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Champion and World Cup holder. However, Australian Brandon Loupos and Irek Rizaev of Russia are amongst the top-level competitors who would like to see that change.
After his BMX Flatland World Cup win, Czech Dominik Nekolny welcomed the inclusion of Flatland in the 2019 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships. We’ll update you on the riders and their form in a special preview feature coming soon!
4. Rainbow jerseys at stake
With the ultimate prize of being crowned UCI World Champion up for grabs, every rider brings their A-game to Chengdu. The UCI World Championships are the culmination of all their rigorous training and season-long competitions. But only the very best riders get to wear the coveted rainbow jersey of UCI World Champion and in Chengdu, 6-10 November, we will discover just who those riders are.