UCI Trials World Cup: anything could happen in Antwerp
The final of the 2015 UCI Trials World Cup has everything you could wish for. A spectacular venue, Antwerp’s Grand-Place; a major sporting trophy, the overall 2015 World Cup; and plenty of suspense, as none of the current leaders are far enough in front to be sure of winning the overall title.
Well-known on the World Cup circuit, Belgium has already pulled out all the stops. Brilliantly led by the four-time World Champion Kenny Belaey, the Antwerp round was voted best event of the UCI Trials World Cup in 2014.
From a sporting point of view, plenty is at stake. Three weeks after the 2015 UCI World Championships, the leading specialists of the discipline will try to claim the overall World Cup title, closing a season that began back in May. Anything is still possible for a number of the athletes, particularly as the points awarded in this last round will be doubled.
In the Men Elite 26” category, the competition will be a battle of the best. The young British athlete Jack Carthy, narrowly beaten at the World Championships and in the last World Cup round in Albertville, will fight tooth and nail to hang on to his leader’s jersey. With 560 points, he is currently ahead of Vincent Hermance, recently crowned UCI World Champion (440 points). Winner for the third time in Andorra, the French athlete is impatient to compete in his new rainbow jersey: “I am delighted to ride this weekend with my World Champion’s jersey. This first appearance will obviously be a special moment. For more than a year, my rainbow outfits had become collector’s items. It’s great to see them go into competition mode again!” The World Champion added: “I am a fair way behind Carthy, so I will try to relax and enjoy.” Behind them, the competition will be even more open given that Gilles Coustellier, winner in Albertville and currently lying third overall (424 points), will not be at the start.
In the Men Elite 20” category, the Spanish duel of Abel Mustieles / Benito Ros will be enough to ignite Antwerp’s town square. Following his 2015 world title, Mustieles took a week off before getting back into training. Currently in the lead of the overall ranking (444 points) in front of Ros (379 points) and Sweden’s Joacim Nymann (334 points), he is clearly aiming for the World Championships / World Cup double. Ros, eliminated in the semi-finals in Albertville and only 3rd in Andorra, will take on the role of outsider. A competitor through and through, he will no doubt intend to pick up the reins.
The Slovakian Tatiana Janickova, winner of the Women Elite category in 2014, has a comfortable lead this season with 493 points. However, Australia’s Janine Jungfel, newly-crowned World Champion, will want to honour her rainbow jersey. Fourth in the overall rankings with 320 points, she can still hope for the best, as can Germany’s Nina Reichenback (2nd with 343 points) and third-placed Slovakian Krystyna Sykorova (also with 343 points).