The indoor cycling season is reaching its peak. Since the beginning of September, artistic cyclists have been competing in their national championships, and vying for qualification for the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships to be held at the beginning of December in Basel, Switzerland.
The top riders in artistic cycling are already in outstanding form: in only the past few days several world records have been established, with the phenomenal Lukas Kohl from Kirchehrenbach, Germany, leading the way. The triple and reigning UCI World Champion increased the official world record three times within a week, including twice in the same day!
"Sometimes I do not even know how to say or describe something," said Kohl, emotionally, at the ‘Ems-Cup’ in Hohems, Austria, that he attended to measure his form in early September. In what was originally planned only as a test competition, Kohl increased his number of turning-jumps, “to see how I do it in the competition". He demonstrated seven turns in the preliminary round, and knew that he was taking a risk. "By expanding the turning-jumps, I take the risk to collect higher deductions," says Kohl.
But in doing so he collected so many bonus points that he improved the eight-year-old world record with a score of 209.22 points. The old mark of 208.91 points had been set in 2011 by eight-time world record holder David Schnabel (GER). Schnabel, who retired some years ago, was one of the eyewitnesses in Hohenems.
"That was perhaps a good omen, that David… was in the hall," said a very pleased Kohl, who posted a photo of himself with his role model on Facebook.
But one week later, things got serious: the first German Masters, the German World Cup qualifier series was on. "The fact that I made another perfect preliminary round and beat my world record with 211.15 points is just unbelievable," said Kohl, who described his freestyle as the "perfect five minutes." But even that was not enough. It put Kohl into the final round on top again, and set up the world record hat-trick. "My performance and the audience carried me through the tenfold spin jump," he said.
The result was "an unsurpassable result of 213.05 points," said Kohl. He even scored more points than his submitted starting value. "For this to sink in will certainly take a few days," said the 23-year-old German.
At the same time, Women’s UCI World Championships silver medallist Milena Slupina (Bernlohe, Germany) was also pushing new barriers. Also in the German Masters preliminary round, the 23-year-old 2017 UCI World Champion increased her own world record (194.31 points) by more than one point to 195.35 points. In the final she was again strongest scoring 193.56 points to win comfortably ahead of Viola Brand (RSV, Unterweissach) on 174.44 points and Maren Haase (RV Blitz, Hoffnungsthal) with 170.93 points.
So, even following the recent resignation of UCI World Champion Iris Schwarzhaupt (Stuttgart), the German national coach Dieter Maute continues to have strong riders in the team. He is spoiled for choice, as he has to select only two starters in each of the five disciplines – Singles Men, Singles Women, Pairs Women, Pairs Open, Act4 Open – to compete in the UCI World Championships.
Germany’s overall strength was demonstrated last month in the third UCI World Cup round in Bokod, Hungary, where they claimed 10 medals including victories in four of the five categories: only Switzerland, in the Pairs Open, denied them of a clean sweep of wins.