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Report: The Champvent World Cup

Tuesday 5 July 2011
by Ben Swales
popularity : 2%

JPEG - 724.7 kb Switzerland hosted the opening of hostilities for the UCI World Cup, with the spectacular first round taking place in Champvent last week. The season’s off to a great start!

There were some extremely exciting moments in every category, as riders made their statements of intent for the coming season, especially in Elite, where the leaders had been shaken up at the end of last year and in Biella. Switzerland’s Karin Moor confirmed her dominance after her great result in the European Championships, demonstrating her ambitions for 2011. She was followed closely by Janine Jungfels, a shock outsider who has been performing solidly in Europe so far this season. In Elite 20”, threatened by Dani Comas and Abel Mustieles in the semi-final, Benito Ros notched up another victory and kept hold of the reins in the series after a tough final. Meanwhile, in 26”, it was the Coustelliers that lead the dance. Giacomo was on great form until a bad fall deprived him of the win, leaving it open for his brother, who came in clean on his second lap to maintain his overall lead!

Overall it was an amazing sporting spectacle, with the best in the world showing their mettle while the fantastic commentators talked the spectators through the events and did their part in raising the atmosphere and pushing the riders further and higher. The organisation was impeccable and the weather was fantastic, with radiant sunshine all weekend (the heat adding to the difficulty of the competition). PNG - 329.2 kb A fantastic start to the season then, which took place among the celebrations of Champvent’s 1,000th year. Another historical event to add to the list!

Karin Moor takes the lead in the World Cup

Swiss rider Karin Moor (Koxx), who was recently crowned European Champion, took the lead in the World Cup this weekend after a perfectly-managed competition which she dominated from start to finish. At the end of the first lap, Australian Champion Janine Jungfels (Koxx), but she really put down the gas on the next two laps, benefitting from the home support, and left the others for dead. She is clearly back on form and very much in charge of things again, after a 2010 that was tainted by injury. World Champion Gemma Abant Condal (Monty) improved her score with each lap to finish in second place despite a sizeable time penalty. Slovakia’s Tatiana Janickova (Koxx) demonstrated remarkable consistency to finish off the podium. Fourth place went to Janine Jungfels, who started out strongly but let things go a bit on her second lap.

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Benito Ros victorious in Elite 20”

World Champion Benito Ros (Koxx) took the lead in Elite 20”, winning the final on Sunday afternoon on sections that were extremely (too?) difficult and posed problems for every rider in the final. No-one managed to get through the dreaded section three, not even Bentito. As in Saint-François Longchamp last year, just getting through a section was a great achievement in itself! Benito proved to be the strongest player in this game, finishing ahead of Abel Mustieles (Koxx) and Dani Comas (Monty). After that, it was a massacre, with riders fiving nearly every section and the organisers having to use the semi-final placings to decide on the final positions…

Swiss Champion and member of the organising team Jérôme Chapuis gives us his thoughts on what some have said was a trial that was far too difficult: «The Elite 20” final was very difficult (perhaps a little too difficult for the finalists outside the top three…), but it is always difficult for the section setters to judge the level before the start of the competition… I spoke to Benito and he said that it was at the limit of his ability. It was therefore a very difficult final, with big obstacles (that many of the riders couldn’t surpass without putting a foot down) and the same extra-terrestrial riders on the podium. The top three were really impressive, and very tired at the end as well…” Further down, we talk to Alain Rémy, the most-feared section setter on the circuit who pushes our sport to new levels every year.

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Photos:

La “Bestia” had his talons out on these burly Elite sections…

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His protégé Abel Mustieles put in a monster performance in the finals!

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The new European Champion Dani Comas, who flew round the semi-final sections in the morning, was also very impressive in the final…

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Local hero, multiple Swiss Champion Loris Braun, fought fiercely, but the sections got the better of him in the end…

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Junior World Champion Ion Areitio, 5th in Elite

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The “magic speakers” of Champvent...

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Gilles Coustellier takes the reins in Champvent:

Gilles Coustellier (Koxx) took the reins in the opening round of the 2011 World Cup, thanks largely to a majestic final lap on which he didn’t drop a single point. The sections had been adjusted slightly after the level had been found to be too high in the 20” final, which allowed the riders to express themselves to the best of their abilities. It was Giacomo Coustellier (Koxx) who took the lead after the first lap, ahead of his brother Gilles, Vincent Hermance (Koxx) and Kenny Belaey (Monty). He had only dropped one point on the second lap until a big fall at the start of a section deprived him of the victory and saw him being carted off to hospital. Gilles Coustellier concentrated well on his second lap, managing himself perfectly to bring his score level with his brothers, just taking the victory on most cleans – unlucky Giaco! Vincent Hermance also had a great second lap, which saw him take third place ahead of World Champion Kenny Belaey, who finished in fourth, a bit further behind the top three. Below him it was a closely fought battle between German Champions Hannes Hermann (Atomz) and Aurélien Fontenoy (Inpulse), with Hannes just coming out on top. Guillaume Dunand (Ozonys) and Kevin Aglaé (Koxx) brought up the rear, but the fact that they have been concentrating on their studies and that this was their first World Cup final mean that this is still an extremely impressive result!

Gégé, one of the spectators, tells us what he saw in the final: “The sections for the 26” final had been made a bit easier, meaning that the competition was a bit more accessible. You could tell straight away that Giacomo was having a good day; he dropped one five and then went on to rack up the cleans with style. Fantastic! He looked untouchable. Kenny was in the lead over the first few sections, but the others overtook him quickly following several mistakes. It was Giacomo who took the lead after that, but he injured his shoulder on the opening ,move of the last section and fell. He stayed on the ground for quite a while before being taken away in an ambulance. Gilles was close behind him, cleaning the section, and the lap, just after Giaco had fived it, but he was obviously concerned for his brother

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Photos:

Gilles Coustellier was on top form in the Champvent sections…

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Giacomo too... but bad fortune deprived him of the victory. We wish him a speedy recovery!

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Supermance was the only one to manage to follow the amazing example set by the terrible twins of 26” Elite trials, dropping just four points on his second lap… JPEG - 249.8 kb

Video:

A quick video of some of the Elite riders in action!

Alain Rémy gives us his thoughts…

The opening round of the 2011 World Cup was, as they say, hardcore, and for good reason. Alain Rémy, who sets the crazy sections for K-124 Days, had been invited by his Swiss friends to set some of the World Cup sections, and he obviously brought some of the K-124 Days magic with him. A bit too much, according to some people! Here he gives his response to those who have criticised the Champvent sections…

JPEG - 648.1 kb Hi everyone!

If you look at the results and the chronology of the points dropped by the riders from the ¼ finals onwards, you can see that no-one got maximum points, and that the scores are distributed pretty progressively. The ¼ finals are really only to separate the last rider to qualify and the first rider not to qualify, and the level of difficulty is set as such; the riders at the bottom of the table find it difficult and the top riders clean everything. The Semis have a similar goal; to differentiate between the 8th and 9th place riders. The best riders still find it a bit too easy. The final is set to find the difference between the best riders of the moment, to test them at their level and not just that of the riders lower down the table. If the riders in the quarter and semi-finals can be tested at their own level, why not the top riders as well? In the final, it is the top three places/riders that matter the most. For information, Gilles dropped 13 points on his first lap and cleaned the second, so to me, that means that everything was do-able. The changes that were made didn’t really affect the top riders, as the obstacles that were taken out weren’t major obstacles, they were taken out simply to give the other riders a bit more time.

The main problem at the moment is that we have to set the same sections for 20” and 26” riders. What happens now is the opposite of how it used to be. In times gone by, the 20” riders dominated the 26” riders. Techniques have evolved now, and it’s the other way around. I chatted with Benito about this, he told me that he thought the sections were perfect, at the limit of his ability, but that he would rather that they were orientated more to the technical side of things. In Champvent, we worked on this, but he thinks we should do more. The problem is with the way the sport has developed. Setting technical sections on temporary sites with imported obstacles is difficult. After talking to several people about this, I think we’ve found a solution: there are 15 minutes between the 20” final and the 26” final and I hope to make it so that the main obstacle in three of the sections has a different approach for the 20” final, so that they’re not always coming up short on obstacles designed for 26s. The time to make the change would be very tight though.

On the subject of Giaco’s injury, he didn’t fall, he landed badly. He was leading the trial in a majestic manner – we were seeing the Giacomo of old, agile, aggressive and committed. As he attacked the final section, he just needed to get through on four points to win, as he was five points ahead of Gilles. The entrance to the section offered several possibilities, and he chose to use the tree branch as he had done, perfectly, on his first lap. He missed it by a couple of centimetres, and because he was so committed over the front, he pitched over, hitting the ground hard (from about 1.45m) and dislocating his shoulder on landing. The worst of it was that he was still there when his brother arrived at the section. Gilles needed to clean the section to win. He did, as he had on his first lap, and took the victory while Giacomo looked on. Vincent had dropped three points on that lap. Some people say that the sections were impossible, but I think that we saw an exceptional competition that tested the riders properly. To give you an idea of how good the sections were, Gilles was disappointed not to have to ride in the ¼ finals because he thought the sections looked so good.

When César Canas tells me that it was a magnificent trial, along with others like Ronney Bealey, Joseph Abant, Peter Fisch, Iciar Van den Bergh’s dad and Gilles Coustellier, who know what a world trial should be like, I know I’ve done a good job. Those that are forever dissatisfied will always complain without actually offering any solutions. I was only in Champvent to help our Swiss friends and to do my part for international trials relations. Congratulations to the Chapuis for what I think was a fantastic event.

Thanks for everything you do for our sport Alain! Don’t let the haters get to you!


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