Alejandro Montalvo’s Spain took victory in front of Germany and France in Chengdu, China, on Wednesday, the opening day of the UCI World Championships for trials, mountain bike Eliminator and BMX Freestyle.
The Spanish trials team scored 580 points thanks in large part to its young star Alejandro Montalvo, a Junior 20” rider who nonetheless won the Elite UCI World Cup this year, and Sergi Llongueras (Men Elite 26”). Both athletes scored 150 points. The Spaniards finished just 20 points in front of Germany with the imperial Dominik Oswald (150), and 60 points in front of France, which had the highest individual scorer thanks to Nicolas Vallée (160).
Spain hadn’t featured on the highest step of the podium since 2013 but proved itself this year despite a late arrival the night before, the last delegation to reach Chengdu, after a long journey: “We were tired,” explained Irene Caminos, “but we took it very seriously today and this gold medal is a great reward for the team. Now it’s time for the individual events.”
The silver medal was bitter-sweet for Germany - winner of the bronze medal in 2015 and 2016 then silver last year - as they were tied with Spain for much of the competition: “We have no regrets, we did good rides, good jumps, we were just 20 little points short,” said Nina Reichenbach. “Hopefully next year we will be at the top of the podium.”
Under the watchful eye of Vincent Hermance, in charge of the group for the team event, France, trying for a fourth title, had to make do with third place: “We have no regrets,” said Nicolas Vallée. “We are on the podium with a very different team. This medal is there to build the future.”
Trials action continues Thursday and Friday with the semi-finals of the individual competitions for the Women, Men Junior and Men Elite. The five titles will be awarded on Saturday.