The international trials competition scene is back, kicking it off with a UCI Hors Class race in Barcelona, at the picturesque Plaça de les Cascades de Montjuïc. The starting list at Trofeu Internacional Ciutat de Barcelona was packed with pretty much all of the best riders from Europe, with both of the current men’s 26″ and 20″ world champions, Sergi Llongueras and Dominik Oswald, attending. But, this wasn’t the day for those wearing a rainbow jersey…
The list of riders included top riders such as Vincent Hermance, Nicolas Vallée, Thomas Pechhacker, Benito Ros, Borja Conejos, Alejandro Montalvo, Vera Baron, Perrine Dehahive and Manon Basseville. To name a few.
With almost 40 participants in total, they started the day off with qualifications. The six best men (20″ and 26″ together) and the four best women qualified for the final.
The day began with the women’s qualification. And the qualification was dominated by Vera Barón (17), scoring 450 points, 80 points in front of the second place qualifier, the French Manon Basseville (23). The third place went to the local rider at only 15 years of age, Laia Esquís. Irene Caminos (23) got fourth and completed the four women that qualified for the final.
A total of 30 men took part in the qualification, divided into three groups of 10 riders. The Frenchman Vincent Hermance (37) dominated the qualification with a total score of 540 of the possible 600 points. Unfortunately for him, he still suffers from his wrist injury, and couldn’t ride at his best in the final.
The other riders that qualified for the final were Alejandro Montalvo (21) with 530 points, Nicolas Vallée (23) with 520 points, Borja Conejos (22) also with 520 points, Eloi Palau (23) with 490 points, and Julen Saenz (21) with 480 points. As you can see, it was super tight, only 60 points separating first and sixth, and a tie between Conejos and Vallée.
The two rainbow jersey wearing riders, Llongueras and Oswald, ended respectively at 8th (460 points) and 11th (420 points) in the qualification.
In the women’s final, Barón once again showed off her good form and took the victory with 230 points, 70 above her closest rival Basseville. Esquís fought for the second step of the podium until the last section, but she didn’t manage to get those last 10-points to get the lead Basseville had over her. They ended with 160 and 150 points respectively. Caminos got 110 points, and last place in the final.
During the men’s final, Palau, Montalvo and Conejos kept fighting until the last section. Palau set the pace of the race from the very beginning, leading the race section after section, scoring 60 points in four out of five sections. As Eloi wrote on his Instagram, he made “a really really really stupid mistake” at section four, where he only got 40 points. That gave Montalvo and Conejos a chance to fight for the victory. It was as close as it could be, with all three of them ending up at 280 points. But, with Eloi scoring four sections with 60 points, compared to three for Montalvo and Conejos, the victory was his. With Montalvo and Conejos having an 100% identical score, also at the section level, the qualification results determined their position, where Montalvo was ahead of Conejos.
It was also incredible tight for the last three riders in the men’s final, with a tie between Hermance and Vallée, at 240 points. With a 100% identical number of 60’s, 50’s, 40’s and 30’s, it was Hermance’s brilliant qualification that secured him the fourth place. Julen Saenz couldn’t quite cope with the final sections, and ended up with 180 points at sixth place.
This was the third leg of Copa Catalana. The last and fourth leg will be held at Sant Antoni de Vilamajor on June 6th, where the overall winners will be crowned.
The men’s final with Catalan commentary here:
The women’s final with Catalan commentary here: