I’m back, this time I’m reporting from Cadenazzo, Switzerland, for the European bmx freestyle championship organized by UEC.
The contest takes place in the new Cadenazzo park, commissioned by Rocco Cattaneo, an entrepreneur and former professional cyclist from the area, designed and built by Hurricane Parks, official partners of the FISE and therefore I’m sure the structure is up to the event, one million francs have been invested to promote this discipline!
Saturday 12th October qualifying and Sunday 13th Oct. the finals that crown two European champions, man and woman.
The qualifications are already exciting, even if the formula of the sum of the two runs excludes immediately some important character, like Daniel Wedeijmaier, who ends up thirteenth short of a position due to a mistake in his second run and therefore out of the finals, I find him at the edge of the park really downcast, from how he was riding we could see that he had something in store for the next day, he had just the time to delight us with his specialty, a kamikaze icepick on top of the 5m wall that borders one side of the park.
Our countrymen defend themselves very well (apart from Mongillo which invalidates his performance with an error in the first run); Betassa just returned from the injury suffered in the Italian championship ends with a satisfying 17th place and Ale Barbero, qualified for the finals with a tenth place, as I expected
The only Swiss athlete in the competition, Alessio Tonoli, who I got to know last week at the jam at the former Elbo Skatepark, enchants the audience with the amplitude of his air, giving emotions with a cliffhanger , a trick that you will almost never sees in competition, he finishes 18th but without betraying his unique riding style.
Among the girls Lara Lessman and Charlotte Worthington dominate the qualifying round followed by the very young Laury Perez and Emma Finnegan and by the super stylish Teresa Fernandez Miranda. The best Russian, Elizaveta Posadskikh is hiding a little while doing the minimum necessary to qualify but holding a set of tricks for the finals.
Among the men the top qualifiers are James Jones, Antony Jeanjean, Jack Clark, Kostya Andreev and Declan Brooks, all three the British in the first 5 places, all enclosed in a range of only 5 points
The finals are going to be hard fought, luckily I will enjoy them better as I borrowed an apartment in Milan and I only have an hour’s drive instead of the almost five of Saturday.
On Sunday I woke up rested and arrived in the park about an hour before the start, so I could watch the athletes warming up and understand what they had in mind for their runs
The park, in fact, as beautiful as it is rest in an industrial context, there is practically only one suggestive corner, with the beautiful Swiss mountains in the background, in practice an obligatory position, but I don’t want to miss the tricks that will decide this championship and take a couple of walks around the perimeter finding all the angles I need.
The UCI delegate also allows me to get on the terraces and therefore some shots different from those of the qualifications are assured!
We start with women, where style often compensates for the lack of rotations. The level of riding compared to the qualifications has definitely risen and the two best qualified emerges.
Elizaveta, as I imagined, held all the tricks for the finals has several combos like double barspint to x-up that are worth many points, Lara Lessman uses the whole park and does not miss anything, can can on the hip, barspin to x-up on the box, crankflip wedge to wedge on the small box even if it does not seem at the top of its form this time and does not perform any rotations and Charlotte Worthington that this time is really from another planet, having lost count of her tricks I remember only a huge Toboggan on the box kept practically until landing, a perfect 360 x-up on the box and crowning a flair transfer in both her runs.
At the end she is the European champion with a score of 91.20, second Lara at 84.60 who surely pays the lack of rotations and third Elizaveta at 82.80, certainly happy but perhaps expecting something more from the judges.
Beautiful figures from Kenneth Tancrè, Cannonball and backflip superman super tight, Evan Brandes launches himself from the wall in tailwhip, Jack Clark enchants with the barrel roll invert
Barbero does a beautiful first run, accurately closing everything he had in mind, including triple tailwhip, 720 and flair whip and takes advantage of it in the second to show to the audience a series of street tricks even knowing he will ot earning some other points.
It is a situation that is repeated with other top athletes, in fact, in two weeks there will be the world championship in Chengdu and nobody wants to risk an injury once closed his routine since in these finals we returned to the classic evaluation of the best run on the two disputed
Super in shape Declan Brooks of which I immortalized a fantastic line, climbs on top of the wall of 5mt, does it all in manual and then drop in with a barspin. It was two days I was eyeing him put all the pieces together and I managed to anticipate it and place myself under the return quarter to compose a beautiful sequence published also by the UCI BMX Freestyle
Antony Jeanjean is super gassed and close a run full of banger, backflip barspin to late tailwhip just to name one.
At the end very close to each other the first four athletes, fresh from the British championship James Jones 4th with 90.80, 3rd Declan Brooks with 91.00, 2nd last year’s world cup champion Marin Rantes with 91.20 and first my favorite Frenchy, first European champion Antony Jeanjean with 93.00
Beautiful the preparation for the awards, with the emotion that rises on the face of the athletes when the organization prepared the flags for the podium and the final ranking was not yet known, I ignored the podium a little and positioned to photograph the face of Antony in the moment of consecration, I was convinced he would have won, and I was right.
National anthems with both winners who barely hold back the tears.
Final color note @catfishvsthug a legendary character of these events that I had already known briefly in Montpellier asked me for a selfie, after all he said, we are mustache brothers 😉
Stay tuned for the next mission