Two golds for Germany, a surprise bronze for Austria and a delighted UCI President
It was an evening of competition that rendered several of the female competitors speechless. As Viola Brand put it: “Right now I’m completely drained.” Early on Saturday evening, the German artistic cyclist finally clinched the medal she had been hoping for at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart at the third attempt –something that scarcely seemed possible after suffering a broken foot. “It’s such a relief after a season that started so badly through injury,” she said.
The new world champion is fellow German Lisa Hattemer, who also needed three World Championships appearances to climb to the top step of the podium. “My set of medals is now complete,” joked the world record holder, who was similarly lost for words at first. “You train so long for this. It’s unbelievable that I’ve now won the title,” the beaming champion said.
Although neither German delivered a perfect programme in the final, Hattemer amassed crucial bonus points for completing several turns while standing on the handlebars. “Tick it off and move on, focusing completely on what’s next,” she explained when asked how she dealt with her small mistakes, “otherwise you end up on the floor for a second time before you know it.”
Bronze once again went to Slovakia’s Nicole Frybortova, who is the most popular artistic cyclist on Facebook with around 40,000 fans following her exploits. Her best-known video, a competition routine, has been viewed almost 18 million times.
Pairs Open: Bugner brothers clinch fourth successive title
Siblings André and Benedikt Bugner became world Pairs Open champions for the fourth time in a row – something only achieved by five other duos in the entire history of the competition. While supporting rider André admitted to feeling “unusually nervous” as the brothers delivered a far from perfect performance in the preliminary round, all traces of uncertainty disappeared as soon as they began their final routine. 22-year-old André and 20-year-old Benedikt were rewarded with 161.24 points and the rainbow jersey.
“It was a brilliant, perfect day,” said a relieved André. “And after such a bumpy road to get here – I broke a metatarsal just before the start of the season.” With this year’s title wrapped up, brother Benedikt was bullish about next year’s competition. “We’ll be back in Dornbirn no matter what – and I’m certain we’ll come away with something again.”
Cycle-ball: Defending champions Austria still unbeaten
Austria won Cycle-ball Group A, with Patrick Schnetzer and Markus Bröll reaching the semi-finals after remaining unbeaten in their pool games. Germany (Mlady/Mlady) were the second team to progress to the knockout stages as France (Meyer/Seyfried) and Switzerland (Schneider/Planzer) battle it out with Czech Republic (Hrdlicka/Loskot) for a place in the next round. Bottom-of-the-group Belgium (Damen/Dirikx) will contest the relegation match against Group B winners Japan (Murakami/Okajima).
UCI President Cookson delighted by proceedings
Spectators at the Indoor Cycling World Championships treated UCI President Brian Cookson to a warm welcome in Stuttgart. “This is my first time at an indoor cycling event, but I’ll certainly be back – amazing,” he said in appreciation of the atmosphere inside the Porsche Arena, before placing the ball on the centre spot for the match between Germany and Czech Republic amid thunderous applause.