Yesterday, day one of the 2022 UCI Urban Cycling World Championships in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) saw the first medals of this year’s event up for grabs in the trials discipline. The action also included BMX Freestyle Flatland qualifications alongside the Teams presentation attended by UCI President David Lappartient, Vice-President and President of Asian Cycling Confederation and General Secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, H.E Aref Al Awani and cycling legend Mark Cavendish.
Ten teams lined up for the teams’ trial event at the UCI 2022 Urban Cycling World Championships. The maximum number of riders permitted in a trials national team competition is five with one per category: Men Junior 20in, Men Junior 26in, Men Elite 20in, Men Elite 26in, and Women. The minimum number of riders in a trials national team competition is three, each from a different category. Each rider has a maximum two minutes per run to try to obtain a maximum of 200 points up for grabs for each rider. Once all athletes have completed their run, the highest cumulative score wins.
The welcoming crowd in Abu Dhabi enjoyed world-class trials from the best in the business. And they really did see the best in the business today as Spain maintained the excellence and consistency they’re renowned for to finish the event with 890 points to become 2022 UCI World Champions. Vera Barón smiled as she finished with the knowledge that victory was hers.
BMX Freestyle Flatland arrives in Abu Dhabi
Meanwhile, the BMX Freestyle Flatland qualifiers provided more spectacle after a full day of practice on Tuesday on the newly built flatland stage. In the Men’s Elite competition, riders from nine different countries were shooting for the top-12 spot that would take them to the semi-finals.
The pressure was on, and several favorites made too many mistakes, failing to make it through. Lindsey Bode (USA) pulled awesome tricks with his foot placed on his stem but it wasn’t enough to qualify as he finished 17th. For Alberto Moya (ESP), Martin Dražil (CZE), Jean-William Prévost (CAN) and Terry Adams (USA), the event surprisingly ended early.
The UCI judges look for many criteria including difficulty of tricks, flow, originality and variety of the moves in the run. When you tick all of the boxes, chances are you make it to the next round. UCI’s #1-ranked Flatland rider coming into the competition was Moto Sasaki from Japan. His score of 88.17 points for his near-perfect run during qualification put him on the top of the list followed by Frenchman Alex Jumelin. Japan’s Ito Masato and Kio Hayakawa qualified in third and fourth, respectively, highlighting the depth of talent in Japan's vibrant BMX Flatland scene.
The opening ceremony after the first day of competition was attended by UCI’s president David Lappartient and Osama Ahmed Abdullah Al Shafar (UAE), President of the Asian Cycling Confederation (ACC). BMX Flatland as well as BMX Park were part of the show, which also included a flag parade of the nations, and a traditional performance by a local Emirati Ayala band alongside demonstration of each discipline.
H.E Aref Al Awani commented, “It has been months of preparation and we are thrilled to have finally kicked off this amazing world championships here in the heart of Abu Dhabi. The competition is running until Sunday 13th November, so we have plenty more exhilarating cycling to see”.
H.E Osama Al Shafar added, “As vice president of UCI, it is a true joy to see this competition arrive in my home country of United Arab Emirates. The cycling scene in the UAE and all the emirates is growing day by day and I thank Abu Dhabi Sports Council for hosting another great event that further aligns Abu Dhabi’s vision in becoming a top tier cycling destination for professional sports”.