If you’ve never heard of the UCI Urban Cycling World Championship, you’re forgiven. However, you probably want to go back and check out all the weekend’s action, because this new Championship, which aims to bring cycling to big cities around the world, looks like a lot of fun and makes a change from the usual city centre criterium racing we usually see.
There are three disciplines: Mountain Bike Eliminator (XCE), Trials, and BMX Freestyle Park. Rainbow jerseys in each were up for grabs, so let’s check out what happened.
Mountain Bike Eliminator (XCE)
This is raced over a short technical course in heats of four riders at a time – it’s a sort of mash up between cross-country Olympic racing and four-cross. You might recall that way back in 2011, there was an XCE race at Dalby Forest as part of the World Cup there. There have been various World Cup and World Championship events since then, but this year the Eliminator moved from the UCI MTB World Championships to the UCI Urban Cycling World Championships.
There were 20 on the men’s start list, and only eight on the women’s start list – none of them British. With (equal) cash prizes for the top 12 finishers, that leaves some cheques uncollected – and the winners €10,000 better off. Not bad. We might have to get training ourselves.
You can watch the women’s race highlights here:
Then men’s highlights are here:
It’s urban cycling, innit, so da musik is all urban like, too. Turn the sound off if you can’t bear it – there’s no commentary anyway.
Trials – hopping about between improbable obstacles on little wheels and being way better than any of us can dream of at track standing, with a maximum of five dabs allowed in any section – had six titles up for grabs. Then men and junior men compete in both 20″ and 26″ competitions, while the women have a single title up for grabs, and there’s a team event. Teams are made up of a maximum of one rider from each category, and a minimum of three riders (all from different categories).
France are the champions at the team event, and defended their title again with a five-strong team. The UK came eighth (out of nine teams), but only had the minimum three members and one of them didn’t score any points.
There were no British competitors in the women’s or Junior 26″ events, but William Ackerley in the Junior 20″ event made it to ninth place in the heats – but not into the six-place final, while in the Men’s 20″ Andrew Chai also didn’t make it past the heats.
Three British riders lined up in the Men’s 26′ (It ain’t dead) event, with defending champion Jack Carthy seeding first and making it into the finals – and winning. Yes, gold and rainbow stripes for the UK.
Highlights of the trials action is here:
And here’s Jack Carthy on his way to that win:
BMX Free Style Park
This is the ‘how crazy can you go’ event, with each rider getting two minutes to do as many tricks as they can to impress the judges on a skate park style set of ramps and obstacles.
With a men’s and women’s event in this discipline, there were just two titles up for grabs. Valeria Ward of the UK placed 10th in the heats of the women’s event (which had 20 on the start list), putting herself through to the final where she improved her placing to a final finishing place of eighth (and a €750 prize). In the men’s event there were a huge 92 names on the start list, with five of them being from the UK. This was whittled down to a semi-final start list of 24 names, including four riders from the UK. By the 12 person final, just Declan Brooks and Alex Coleborn remained of the UK riders, but Alex managed to grab the silver medal.
You can watch the action here (you might want to hide behind the sofa for some of these bigger tricks).
So there you go – with some of the fields being quite small, there’s surely some opportunity for sneaking into medal contention next year if we get working on some of those skills? Of course, there are a fair number of n+1 excuses there too. Now where did we put those old 26″ tyres that we thought might just come in handy one day?