The finals day at the UCI World Championships was a great day for flatland. The day started with Women’s flat and four riders knuckled down and give it their all, Irina Sadovnik was battling a knee injury and with the help of Trish and her medical skills she was able to ride. Sometimes when you are faced with a physical obstacle such as an injury your focus is heightened. The injuries were stacking up in China and kind of became one of the main topics of everyones discussions during the two week trip.
Lionel Cardoso on the MIC duties, and David on the decks. props to these guys who killed it throughout the series and the two weeks in China!
Irina had the run of her life after practise the previous day to rest her knee, pulling a clean whiplash to start, squeaker to one handed fork wheelie, no handed rolling front yard, whiplash jump to pedals, smooth backwards Karl, and a flawless run to top it off! The emotion she showed captivated everyone in the arena. It was honestly a great moment for flatland to see her battle and her come through the pain and the reward. The first rainbow jersey in UCI flatland went to Irina Sadovnik, and a very happy coach, Martti Kuoppa!
Irina was followed on the podium by Misaki Katagiri from Japan, who nailed her backwards hitch but a few touches kept her off the top spot. Riding after Irina’s no touch run obviously had some effect on her.
Julia Press was in the top spot from semis, but like Misaki was unable to hold it together to challenge Irinas run. Nevertheless her steam turbine to fire turbine was well executed and she took the bronze back to Germany. The women’s flatland is short in numbers but the quality is going up every contest and I can’t wait to see the progression next year.
Such a good spirit in the Women’s Class that this photo illustrates really well. Progression up since Montpeller, next year is going to be awesome!
The vibe was electric after women’s flat, really setting the tone going into Pro finals. Catfish announced after Park qualifying “everyone head to flatland and show some love”. It was awesome to see some of the park heavy hitters at the flatland arena and the scene was set for one of the best finals I have ever judged. The floor was solid, and it’s not rocket science. Have a good floor and the level of riding goes up!
Takumi Isogai had a tough time in finals, missing his spinning xft hitch three times, coming completely off the bike and that really hurt his score. He did bring a new trick to his run, where he turbines a right side halfpacker holding the bar in a similar technique to how he does the spinning turbine halfhiker that Matt Wilhelm brought to the game many years ago. It wasn’t Takumi’s day, he will be back. It was a pressure cooker atmosphere out on the contest floor as you would expect with the World Championship title at stake.
Matthieu Bonnecuelle had the difficult task of riding first in finals and set the standard with a no touch run that ended giving him a fifth place finish. Matthieu has a unique style, bringing the classic sit and spin type move that Martin Aparijo used to do except Matthieu is on the side of the bike stood on the BB area. Not to mention backwards facing whiplash on lock in a tight flatland area is not an easy one. A great start for the frenchies with a fifth place finish.
Dom and Moya warming up in practise, both going backwards no less and avoiding collisions somehow.
Alberto Moyà has one of the best runs of his life in semis, but wasn’t able to hold it together during the finals. He did however nail his Sharon Stone move, Moyà made his mark for sure this year and is now a regular in the flatland finals. Good job Moyà!
Jean William Prevost like Irina Sadovnik and Dominik Nekolny was strapped up battling a suspected broken hand after a awkward crash on a no handed Rodeo glide right after Fise Chengdu. You could see Dub fighting hard during qualifying and semis and he seemed to be peaking just in time for the finals nailing everything in practise. It sad wasn’t to be and he had time on his signature inside switch b undertaker to pedal junkyard switch, but did nail a super smooth controlled rodeo glide across the solid flatland floor. Big respect to Dub riding through the pain barrier and also Trish strapping the riders up do they could ride.
Sixth place went to Alex Jumelin, I had various discussions with Alex over the two weeks in China and he mentioned the difficulty of performing in finals to the level he wanted. And what he said rang true in the UCI finals, where Alex touched a few too many times to make top five and that was kind of sad to see after he started the Fise contest the week earlier with two flawless runs. Alex did nail a nice rollback flail to mega spin to decade, Alex will be back for sure.
Terry Adams took care of business in finals at the UCI World Championships, fourth place in a tense final.
Terry Adams came out swinging in the finals, Phil Collins blasting as normal which really fits his riding. Terry added the “Adams Bomb” to a big combo, and rode flawless until the last trick where he went for his signature crackpacker 360 flip to xft hitch. After all the work Terry has done this year it was awesome to see him stoked and some reward for his hard work.
The top three was mighty close and as always comes down to tiny details. Moto Sasaki was in good form coming off a big win at Fise the previous week, which he commented was his first Fise win in 12 years of trying!
Moto came out swinging like the previous week, hitting a nice spinning pedal k to circle k into a big line, his signature pumping spinning x-ft-hang ten jump to crack, and was going so well up until 2 minutes 45 into his run and just like Fise the previous week he went for halfhiker pivot to x-ft halfpacker pivot backwards hitch and out and missed it. So effectively, there wasn’t anything in the last 15 seconds, it’s a small detail but it was enough to keep him in third place with the top 2 riding flawless. A great two weeks in China for Moto, who really has stepped up his consistency on the contest scene, since Hiroshima Japan earlier in the year.
Matthias Dandois warming up right before Pro finals, mid switch foot frontward/mccircle pivot rocking his new signature Vans shoe.
Second place went to Matthias Dandois, who had the whole crowd on their feet including all the park riders that definitely came to see him ride. Matthias made a slight mistake on his opening fakie manual line, but kept it together and came back strong. Nailing long lines on the front and back wheel, his signature no handed spinning halfpacker, backwards spinning seat grab one handed switch foot mega spin into junkyard turbines, and finishing with half cab 5. There was a moment, where Matthias went to celebrate the win and then he noticed the score.The relief on Dom’s face was priceless and something I don’t think I will ever forget.
All this added to the tension, Dominik Nekolny had a few misses in his run yet managed stayed on his bike and the difficulty of what he was doing nobody else on the day could touch.
Dom started strong with x-ft hitch backwards backpacker pivot x-ft hitch 1/2 xft juggler pivot right side halfpacker pivot opposite x-ft halfhiker x-ft whiplash out!
Double x-ft whiplash to switch foot Karl turbine switch to steam 360 flip to halfpacker to opposite halfhiker out. Nose boomerang to steam into a long line and sealed the deal with an amazing save in a line that I didn’t you could save. Switch foot Karl pivot fork wheelie to switch foot steam one kick to opposite xft hitch backwards backpacker to opposite xft hitch sealed the deal.
China up until this moment had been a nightmare trip for Dom, with the airlines losing his bike and having to borrow Irina Sadovnik’s bike to get through qualifying and semis at Fise. Then… he got injured and had Trisha tape his swollen ankle up and rode through the pain barrier to get through qualifying and semis and now Dominik won the first UCI World Championship title in our history and took the 5K and the infamous rainbow jersey back to Prague.
Flatland blew up in China and was so well received by everyone in attendance, Irina Sadovnik and Dominik Nekolny each become the UCI world champion in their classes and took the 5K each home. This event had a different feel than the normal contest, with national teams and coaches, medics, physics all around to help their teams.
It’s been an honour to be involved in the Fise / UCI contest series this year, level up. Let’s go harder next year and keep progressing flatland forward on the big stage.