UCI Snow Bike World Championships: Baumann and Thévenard claim the rainbow jerseys in the dual slalom

UCI Snow Bike World Championships: Baumann and Thévenard claim the rainbow jerseys in the dual slalom

UCI (France) - Press Release: Pierre Thévenard (FRA) takes it all with a second UCI World Champion title in two days while Lisa Baumann (SUI) turns Saturday’s bronze into a gold medal on the final day of the first-ever UCI Snow Bike World Championships, held in Châtel, France.

Day two of the first edition of the UCI Snow Bike World Championships turned out to be a spectacular event for athletes and fans alike, with the exciting dual slalom format on the programme. Pierre Thévenard won the men’s competition, adding to his gold from the Super-G the day before, while Lisa Baumann took the women’s gold, adding to her bronze from the Super-G.

Saturday’s Super-G event doubled as a qualification race for the dual slalom with, on the men’s side, the fastest 32 riders from Saturday facing off in a series of elimination races. For the women, it would be the seven riders who competed in the Super-G on the Saturday.

The round of 32 athletes in the men’s competition featured one heat where the winners progressed directly to the next round of 16 athletes. From there and through to the final, two heats would take place (so both riders could compete on both tracks) with the rider crossing the finish line of the second round first making it to the next round.

Thévenard doubling up with a second gold:

Thévenard looked in dominant form, clearly buoyed by his memorable victory in Saturday’s Super-G. But the Frenchman, known for his love of speed (he holds the snow bike speed record at 165.9km/hr), had expressed reservations that the dual slalom wouldn’t play to his strengths as it was more about technique than all-out power.

“The winner of the Super-G won’t necessarily win the dual slalom, which is a little bit slower but really technical,” he said. “Racing two at a time can be destabilising, with pressure right to the end.” Thévenard stormed past Austria’s Trafella and Great Britain’s Josh Turner to face France’s Baptiste Jalladeau in the quarter-finals. The two riders were neck-and-neck over the first heat but Jalladeau slipped at the end. That gave Thévenard a clear advantage going into the second heat, which he capitalised on to win by 1.35secs.

In the semi-finals, Thévenard would face Great Britain’s two-time downhill UCI World Champion Danny Hart, while the other semi-final saw the Super-G silver medallist Henry Kerr (IRE) battle it out against the Super-G bronze medallist Vincent Tupin (FRA).

It was Thévenard and Hart up first. And in a close contest, the Frenchman won the first heat by just 0.2secs. It was a similar story in the first heat of the other semi-final as Kerr beat Tupin by the closest of margin, again just by 0.2secs.

In the second heat, Thévenard flew out of the starting gates, putting pressure on his British counterpart. Hart missed a gate close to the finish line and waved goodbye to his chances of gold. He would still have a chance of a medal in the bronze match-off where, after an exciting second heat, he would face Kerr. Much to the joy of the home crowd, Tupin held off the Irishman to progress to the final.

Kerr didn’t let that defeat disappoint him, beating Hart to claim the bronze for a silver- and bronze-winning weekend.

In the final, Thévenard looked in command as he took the lead in the first heat before Tupin slipped. That gave Thévenard a clear advantage going into the second heat, rendering him a second gold in this first-ever UCI Snow Bike World Championships.

“I can’t believe it,” an emotional Thévenard said after the race. “It’s just crazy, just amazing.”

Close final sees Baumann on top:

In the women’s dual slalom, all eyes were on the Super-G gold medallist from Saturday, Morgane Such (FRA). Could she repeat Thévenard’s double to make it four golds for France on home soil?

She certainly gave herself every chance as, after enjoying a bye to the semi-finals, she would face countrywoman Morgane Charre (FRA), the former downhill UCI World Champion who finished fourth in the Super-G on Saturday.

In the first heat, Such recorded a 0.5sec lead over Charre. That meant Charre had to take more risks during the second heat, and she slipped, leaving Such to go through to the final.

The other semi-final saw the Swiss duo Lisa Baumann and Jolanda Kiener battle it out. After two intense heats, Baumann proved the strongest, going through to the final, and soon after, Kiener could console herself with the bronze medal after beating Charre in the race for third and fourth.

In the final, Baumann stormed out to carve out a clear lead but Such picked up speed as the race progressed. Baumann held a small lead of 0.09secs going into the second and final heat. The second heat was a repeat, with Baumann flying at the start before Such reeled her in, but not enough as Baumann won and could celebrate a memorable victory.

“It was a really great experience and Morgane pushed me to my limits,” Baumann said after the race. “It’s hard because you’d think you’d see your opponent, but you only really know where they are at the finish! I rode faster with every run but, come the final, I was faster at the top while Morgane was faster at the bottom. But it was amazing.”

For more information about this article from UCI click here.

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