Due to an ankle injury at the beginning of the year, I missed out on most of the contest season. As I finally fully recovered I headed to Chengdu, China for UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup. All the top riders gathered in Chengdu to claim the first-ever UCI World Cup title. After competing at the other world cups in Montpellier (FR) and Edmonton (CAN), this was the 3rd and final stop. BMX Freestyle Park got embraced last year by the UCI and is going to be an Olympic discipline at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. As of this year Flatland joined the UCI, with the ambition to make it an Olympic discipline.

This was my second time in China and the first time for a competition. Back in 2007, I got invited by the Dutch Embassy to perform in Beijing. It felt great to be back! China is an experience by itself and is a lot different from other Asian countries I’ve visited like Japan or Korea. The FISE was in charge of the organization. They have been hosting its events in Chengdu for the past couple of years. It was the first time they hosted Flatland at this stop off their World Series. The local riders were very stoked on having riders from all over the world compete in their country. They welcomed us with a warm welcome, introducing us to the spicey local food and Chinese culture.

The competition was a tough cut. Friday it started with qualification, then semi-finals on Saturday and on Sunday eight riders were left for the finals. I was happy to make the cut after quite struggling. On Saturday I managed to make a comeback from my qualification run and qualified in eighth place for the finals. I pretty much nailed the finals with an almost clean run. It wasn’t good enough for a podium spot, but I’m really happy with this a result after a tough year. It was the Canadian Jean-William Prevost that took the top spot with an amazing run and it was Matthias Dandois that claimed the first-ever UCI World Cup title.

Final result:

1 Jean William Prevost (CAN)
2 Moto Sasaki (JAP)
3 Matthias Dandois (FR)
4 Alex Jumelin (FR)
5 Dez Maarsen (NL)
6 Jorge Gomez (ES)
7 RaphaëL Chiquet (FR)
8 Takumi Isogai (JAP)