Over the last two days here in Vic, all of the five semi finals at the 2021 UCI trials world championship have been run. We got some interesting results in the hard, but beautiful sections, but the usual suspects are still the ones to beat. Here are five things we learned from the semi finals…
1. The men’s junior 26″ semi final sections were too difficult, and it’s super close in the top three
It’s super close in the men’s junior 26″ category. Frenchmen Charles Chibaudel (18) won the semi final ahead of Czech rider Tomas Veprek (18), both scoring 440 points. But Charles got one section with a full score, whereas Tomas got none, and thus Charles taking the win. Spain’s Daniel Cegarra (16) got third place, with 10 points less than the two at the top, and it’s interesting to see who’s going to ride their best in the final.
The sections were definitely too difficult for the junior riders, when the winner scores less than 50% of the points available, something which might be a trend for the championship.
2. Marti Riera dominated in junior 20″
The local Catalan rider, Marti Riera (18), absolutely dominated the men’s junior 20″ semi finals, scoring 700 of 900 available points. He’s definitely in his own league, 110 points ahead of Switzerland’s Loris Gonzales (18).
Our guess is that Marti is going to excel even further when the sections get tougher in the final.
3. Nina Reichenbach is the favorite, but Vera Baron is right behind her
Germany’s Nina Reichenbach (22) is the reigning world champion, and she’s still the favorite to get another title in Vic. She won the women’s semi final with 690 out of 900, but Spaniard Vera Baron (17) was only 40 points behind her, both scoring an identical high score at their third lap, with 250 points.
The question is: Who will shine the most when the sections get tougher in the final, Nina or Vera?
4. Jack Carthy is a beast, the sections were way too hard, and it was tight!
The reigning world champion in men elite 26″, Sergi Llongueras (25), had a tough day at the office, ending up with a disappointing 12th place. But, it was tight in the top 12, only 40 points separating Sergi in 12th and Germany’s Oliver Widmann (20) in fourth!
Lap one were a struggle for most of the riders, even Jack Carthy struggling, scoring only 180 of 300 available points. But, after the organisers finally decided to do some changes to the sections, and Jack activated beast mode, he completed both of the following two laps with 290 out of 300 points, absolutely crushing the rest of the 26″ elite riders in the world, with a total of 760 points.
Belgian Kenny Belaey (38) has annouced that this will be his last world championship, in an impressive career stretching all the way back to 1998, with four elite world championship golds. He ended up at a 13th place, his first time not qualifying for a final. Bashguardian will come back with a longer interview with him soon.
Looking at the sections, and the rider’s scores, it was with no doubt way too hard, where 27 out of 30 riders scoring less than 50% of the available points. The organisers also displayed little willingness to admit their mistakes, as some of the changes did not happen until the third lap.
5. Team Spain killing it, four of six spots in the final
Men’s elite 20″ semi finals happened after the 26″, and thus the sections had been changed to the better. That’s something that was visible, with all in the top three scoring above 700 points. Team Spain was killing it, with Borja Conejos (22) in first place, with 770 points. The Vic local, Eloi Palau (23) was just 30 points behind, at 740 points, and Alejandro Montalvo (21) just ten points behind Eloi. Behind them there was a gap down to Austrian Thomas Pechhacker (26), at 590 points.
Everybody’s favorite 40 year old trials rider, the living legend Benito Ros, got fifth, and Spain thus getting four of six spots in the final.
The reigning 20″ world champion, Germany’s Dominik Oswald (24), was just 20 points from a spot in the final, scoring 560 points less than Lucien Leiser (27) from Switzerland, in sixth.
Cover photo of Oliver Widmann shot by Gaute Ulltang/Bashguardian.