The final day at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships (ICWC) in Basel (SUI) saw repeat rainbow jerseys for the Austrian duo Schnetzer & Bröll in Cycle-ball and the Germans Lukas Kohl and Lena and Lisa Bringsken in Artistic Cycling.
Artistic Cycling Single Men
A German phenomenon at this ICWC’s Artistic Cycling: no perfect routines in the preliminary round – and then enchanting the audience with brilliant performances in the final.
That’s how it played out in the Single Men competition. Lukas Kohl (23), undefeated since his first World Championship title in 2016, was surprised by hitting the ground during his qualification run, and his result of 204 points, although world-class, was not enough to top the competition. And in the final-4, the four-time champion found himself on top, without significant mistakes and dominating the competition with 208.89 points.
“That was team spirit,” joked Kohl in the press conference, referring to the collectively weaker preliminary round by himself and his fellow artistic cyclists.
His compatriot Marcel Jüngling (Germany) had finished third in the preliminary round, with a moderate performance in his freestyle. But he also found a perfect season finale in the final in front of about 2,500 spectators. With 192.98 points, he secured the silver medal at his World Cup debut.
The bronze medal went to Chin To Wong from Hong Kong. The 26-year-old had set a new Asian record in the preliminary round and confirmed this good performance in the medal round with 176.22 points. Also very proud was Martin Schön from Hungary, the first athlete of his country to make the Final-4. Two fifth places had been his best results previously; now he secured the qualification with 168 points and finished fourth. For the Swiss Lukas Burri, winner in the Pair Open, too many mistakes and uncertainties crept in and he ultimately had to settle for fifth place.
Artistic Cycling Pairs Women
There was a dramatic moment in the Pairs Women when the top-seeded Caroline Wurth and Sophie-Marie Nattmann (Gutach, Germany) were the last couple in the final-4 to take to the competition area.
From the live score they were on schedule for a medal until shortly before the end. “But we knew before the last passage that it would be very tight to get all the exercises in time,” said Nattmann. But issues with a handstand caused the pair problems. “It took a lot of time,” Wurth explains. “I did not have my normal seating position and then the last transition just went awry.”
The points reduced to 129.43, which was still enough for second place. Like last year this was ahead the Austrian pair of Rosa Kopf and Svenja Bachmann: the U19 riders had scored 125.53 points, securing bronze for the second time.
After a flawless performance, with a season’s best of 142.64 points, the UCI rainbow jersey went to defending champions Lena and Lisa Bringsken (Böhl-Iggelheim, Germany). “It was really perfect in the final,” the sisters agreed.
Just as impressive was the debut performance by the young Swiss duo Nadina Zuberbühler and Jeannine Graf, who were rightly happy with their fourth place.
Ahead of Markus Bröll’s anticipated retirement from the sport, he and his partner Patrick Schnetzer claimed their sixth UCI World Champions title together for Austria.
Unfortunately for Switzerland, host of the Indoor Cycling World Championships 2019 in Basel, their efforts were not quite enough for the icing on the cake, as there was no hoped-for medal on the last day of a thrilling ICWC.
The most promising Swiss candidates were the brothers Severin and Benjamin Waibel. The 2018 vice-European Champions from Pfungen pushed through in the morning’s second round against the Czech Republic after a thrilling fight, happy in the end with a 4:3 scoreline. But in the semi-finals, almost inevitably, they were then defeated by the multiple World Champions from Austria, Patrick Schnetzer and Markus Bröll (Höchst).
In the match for third place, Waibel/Waibel once again faced the Czechs. But this time the Swiss caught a classic false start, and couldn’t get into the match with the score 0:3 at the break – and at the end there was a bitter 0:6 deficit for the home nation. It was the first medal together for the Czech ‘Oldies’ Jiří Hrdlička (46) and Pavel Loskot (41). Hrdlička completed his ICWC medal set after two golds (2003, 2008) and two silver medals (2005, 2006). “And now I have all placements at an ICWC from first place to sixth place,” laughed Hrdlička.
The final, for the third time in a row, was a duel between Austria and Germany - with the same cast: The defending UCI World Champions Patrick Schnetzer and Markus Bröll against the German challengers Bernd and Gerhard Mlady (Stein). Here, the reigning champions took revenge for the first round defeat. With a score of 8:6 Schnetzer/Bröll secured their sixth joint world title. “Compared to the qualification match, we were mentally better off. We knew, now it's about the title, because we really gave everything,” said field player Markus Bröll.
For Bröll it was the last ICWC. “With the competitive sport I will stop after the UCI World Cup Final in a few weeks,” confirmed the 32-year-old who is planning more time for family and friends. “Do not cancel a birthday party because you have training or a competition,” he says, looking forward to his change.
Schnetzer, however, will continue with his new partner and of course wants to be back at the next ICWC. Just like the cousins Bernd and Gerhard Mlady. “But the duels against Austria are always on such a high and balanced level, which you saw again with the many goals,” said Gerdhard Mlady. It's the little things that make the difference… “And we are definitely targeting the 2020 ICWC in Stuttgart.”
In the Relegation match, there will be no change in the A-Group in the coming year. France (Quentin Seyfried and Mathias Seyfried) once again kept the upper hand in the relegation match against the now three-time B-Group winners Liechtenstein (Markus Schönenberger / Lukas Schönenberger), winning 6:3 to secure the league.
It’s been an enthralling competition, superby hosted in Basel, with established champions showing their expertise and new faces emerging. Congratulations to all out new, and re-crowned UCI World Champions!