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News - 26-28 November 2010

World Champs extra / 28.11.2010

David Campione and ecstatic Gärtringen fans


Could things get any better? Predictions that there would be “non-stop highlights” immediately came true on the final day of the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart. David Schnabel (Germany) ended the single men artistic cycling competition having not only won an historic fifth World Championship title but also having set a new world record of 206.57 points. A standing ovation for the essentially quiet and friendly German, who was spontaneously renamed “Davide Campione” by the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer’s (BDR – German Cycling Union) vice-president Harry Bodmer. Six thousand frenetically cheering fans was described by the 26-year-old as having “Olympic dimensions”. The German artistic cyclists are on cloud nine especially as Florian Blab placed second after veritable freestyle display for which he received 200.16 points. Third place went to Hang Cheong Wang (Macao) and the bronze medal winner is already looking forward to the 2011 World Champioinships on what is almost his own doorstep.

Alfred Hitchcock seemed to be the director of the cycle-ball tournament. As a result of the complicated tournament mode, the competition saw three “titan meetings” between the Germans and Swiss. One year ago, it was Jiriček/Waldispühl (Switzerland) that came out on top in the very same encounter to win the title. This time in Stuttgart, the Germans, Uwe Berner and Matthias König, (top goal-scorer with 17 goals) gained revenge. All hell broke loose in the Porsche Arena after their 3-1 win in the final. The ecstatic capacity crowd celebrated the new World Champions from nearby Gärtringen for minutes on end. After endless interviews, congratulation, autographs, they signed off by saying they would be continuing their careers in the dynamic but also tough sport next year. National coach Jürgen King however put things into perspective: “It’s hardly possible to go through such a training regime for a second time but they have picked up an amazing amount of confidence.” The third spot on the rostrum went to Austria.

One was a little sad, the other was really happy. The reactions of the third-placed Corinna Hein and the silver medal winner Marion Kleinschwärzer (both Germany) after the final of the single women’s artistic cycling could have hardly been more different. As for title-holder Hein, she suffered a recurrence of an old back injury when warming up and she could only finish her freestyle in pain after a short break. “That’s sport. A similar thing happened to me at the 2004 championships. Now, I’ll just have to get fit again.” Marion Kleinschwärzer, who has now “hung up” her bike was on the other hand very happy. “I didn’t expect to come second and it’s therefore an even nicer way to finish my career,” said the student who will go to a school in Africa for nine months. Gold went to Austria’s Denise Boller.


World Champs extra / 28.11.2010

World Champs have exceeded the boldest dreams

Officials and organisers were all extremely pleased with the course of the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships in Stuttgart. “The event has exceeded our boldest dreams,” commented for example Andreas Kroll, the CEO of in.Stuttgart, and he said there was a distinct possibility that they would bid again for the World Championships. “There was a great atmosphere right from the start and the fantastic surface played a decisive part in producing the top class performances” added Willy Bondue, the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) indoor president.

“Stuttgart has presented an especially attractive side of cycling and we have felt very much at home here,” stressed Rudolf Scharping, the President of the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer (BDR – German Cycling Union). He hopes there will be a further internationalisation of the sport and wants to do all he can to get it included in the World Games and confirmed that Turkey and China are showing greater interest in the indoor cycling. The World Championships General Secretary Rolf Schneider confirmed the record attendance figure of 18,000 and was pleased that, alongside the print media, the electronic media had, at shown notice, also shown increased interest in the event. Whether it was the sport in the Porsche Arena or the party in the Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle, Stuttgart has again lived up to its reputation as a world famous sporting city.

Final highlights in front of a capacity crowd

A capacity 6,000 crowd in the Porsche Arena, top class sport and high life until the early hours in the party zone – indoor cyclists have taken over Stuttgart. “What a pity,” said a fan from afar, “that it’ll soon be over again.” Two titles for the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer (BDR – German Cycling Union) real Hitchcock matches in cycle-ball and full concentration for the freestyle displays of the bike acrobats: the cocktail is extremely popular. “What’s most impressive is the fairness of the spectators. They cheer on everybody and applaud no matter which nationality,” commented World Championships general secretary Rolf Schneider. The performance of the Hungarian in the singles women is honoured in the same way as a Belgian cycle-ball goal. And the indoor cycling retreat in Stuttgart will also be sold out on Sunday. Rolf Schneider has heralded “highlights galore”. Who will win the Rainbow Jersey in the singles disciplines and in cycle-ball?

The four-time champion David Schnabel (Germany) showed in the preliminary round just how high the standard is. 205.46 points and his thoughts were: “I just knew that I had the surety but it nevertheless gives you more confidence. In the final I’ll try to repeat the performance or maybe even go one better. But it won’t be easy.” Florian Blab (Germany - 196.43) qualified comfortably for the final countdown. A mistake though in the Maute Jump prevented him from getting a better score.

When hard working volunteers carry out the square goals onto the court which is aligned by the red strips of carpet, then it is time for the decibels to rise and for the Swiss cow-bell ringing armada from the RMV Mosnang club to march in. Are we in Toggenburg…? When Peter Jiriček and Marcel Waldispühl (Switzerland) are in action then apparently we are. Still undefeated, the men with the white Swiss cross on their jerseys are heading the table. Team Germany (Berner/König) showed nerves of steel as, after going 2-0 down against France in the second half, they came back to win 6-2. Matthias König clenched his fist.

The UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships could have been the yearned for “home game” for Sandra Beck and Anja Scheu. Both however narrowly lost out in the qualifying but they still got their World Championships appearance. After the victory ceremony for women’s pairs artistic cycling, they shouldered fellow Germans Jasmin Soika and Katharina Wurster around the Porsche Arena on their lap of honour. All of them had a little tear in their eyes.


World Champs extra / 27.11.2010

Gold for Mergelstetten

Business as usual? Germany won gold and silver in the women’s pairs artistic World Championships in Stuttgart – but the order even also surprised some insiders. The first title for Jasmin Soika and Katharina Wurster ahead of last year’s champions Kathrin Schultheis and Sandra Sprinkmeier. It was a result similar to the one recently at the German Championships. For the local girls, it was an “amazing dream. Brilliant, what can you say?” said the 22-year-old Katharina Wurster, who studies in nearby Tübingen. “And everybody was there.” Perhaps it was because the Bild-Zeitung, the daily tabloid newspaper, presented the duo in their preview of the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships. “Really cool,” enthused Wurster. Like the freestyle, initially faultless but then a little blip shook the nerves.

Afterwards they were the centre of an immense amount of media attention. The press have discovered their soft spot for artistic cycling and cycle-ball this weekend. “Now we are naturally hoping that the high will continue and we will get more coverage,” said a forward looking Jasmin Soika. And the rivalry with the silver medal winners is not over yet. “We’ll obviously carry on,” said Sandra Sprinkmeier. Silver is only a “little disappointment, it was simply wonderful having the support of so many fans here.” Third place went to the Swiss pair of Morf/Bommeli. The lap of honour accompanied by La Ola and in the focus of the television cameras will never be forgotten by the new World Champions.


Stephan Rauch retires after 24 years

“A dream really has been fulfilled at the end,” were the words used by Stephan Rauch to describe his second World Championships title with his partner Ann-Kathrin Egert in Stuttgart’s Porsche Arena. After 24 years of artistic cycling, the 29-year-old German has retired and is now looking forward to an intensive family life with son Yannik and wife Melanie. “There was simply too little time for my family,” commented Stephan Rauch.

His 21-year-old partner Ann-Katrin Egert has also decided not to continue in the sport. “There’s no chance of me finding a better rider that Stephan and one should give up when things are at their best. And the atmosphere here in Stuttgart is almost unbeatable. It was simply fantastic.” The technical assistant also said that the fact that there was no money to be earned from the sport was another reason for her early retirement. Now both World Champions have other priorities and the title win will be celebrated long into the night with the fans. Second place went to the brothers Felix and Florian Blümmel, who will be looking to take over from Rauch/Egert in Japan in 2011. “But it won’t happen automatically as the competition in Germany is always formidable,” said Florian Blümmel.


World Champs extra / 27.11.2010

Everything revolves around the bike for Peter Jiriček
For him, everything revolves around the bike and together with his partner Marcel Waldispühl, he is the title-holder in cycle-ball: the 32-year-old Swiss Peter Jiriček. The pair got off to a slow start at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships but soon got used to the conditions in the Porsche Arena. Equipped with cow-bells and with red and white caps on their heads, the Swiss fans generated a deafening noise in the stands.

“We’ll continue to improve during the tournament,” promised the bald-headed Peter, who was born with cycle-ball in his blood. His father Petr was a top cycle-baller in the country of his birth, the Czech Republic, and was, along with his partner, the big rivals of the Pospisil brothers. They almost always snatched the national and World Championships titles away from Jiriček, who, after retiring, moved to Switzerland in 1979.

In his new home, he was appointed the national coach and his most willing pupil was his son, who was born in 1978. Peter Jiriček then proceeded to develop into the most successful cycle-baller of recent years. He has won three UCI World Championships titles, was a runner-up on three occasions and came third once. The first gold medal was won in as early as 1999 with Christof Hauri, the second followed in 2002 with Paul Looser. Number three was added last year alongside goalkeeper Marcel Waldispühl. Stuttgart will be his tenth UCI World Championships and the 31-year-old gardener Waldispühl is already his fifth partner.

A perhaps decisive advantage for Peter Jiriček is that he rides a bike he has designed himself. The successful businessman sells bikes for artistic cyclists and cycle-ballers under the Star Bicycle brand and his bikes are also popular amongst his rivals. Even the German title contender Matthias König uses such a bike. It is therefore highly probable that the UCI World Championship title will go to a Star Bicycle. Let’s see whether Peter Jiriček will himself snatch gold in the end.


World Champs extra / 27.11.2010

Crazy Canada

Two Canadians were amongst the first winners at the UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships. Even though, sorry Francis Godbois and Yohann Trepanier, the sport is only a very minor one in the land of the maple leaves. But, typical North American, the story is worth telling. By selling T-shirts the two Québecois were able to finance the expensive trip over to Stuttgart and the shirts are all the rage in the Porsche Arena. Things did not go so well though in the competition. Francis was handed the wooden spoon in men’s individual category. “Doesn‘t matter,” the main thing is that they are taking part. And his finale of balancing his bike on his chin excited the fans. Artistry and extraordinary shoes also added a touch of colour. No wonder: Yohann (22), who was given a slightly higher score, and his countryman are, “in real life”, students of circus artistry.

But they are certainly not clowns. They were coached in the 80’s by former artistic cyclists and had seven days of intensive training at the local RV Gärtringen club in the week before the start of the World Championships. They are now representing their home country for the first time in ten years at the event. The sudden onset of winter reminds them of Canada. “Almost like in Québec,” said a happy Francis – and sold two jerseys at a special price to a couple of girls. Two more fans of the “Crazy Canadians”.

World Champs extra / 26.11.2010

World Championships’ golden opening

The UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships began like it was something straight out of a picture book. There was a first gold medal for the hosts in the women’s team 4 and an atmosphere for which the Stuttgart crowd also earned top marks. The early evening Opening Ceremony with fireworks and unicycle displays soon sparked the fans into life and then it was the turn of the athletes from 21 nations... “One couldn’t have wished for anything better,” said the highly delighted Vice-President of the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer (BDR), Harry Bodmer.

A certain nervousness in the preliminary round and then the German quartet lit their own fireworks in the final and their performance was rewarded with the world record score of 191.74. The title in the very first World Championships competition: the harmonic team coached by Irmtraud Wirth definitely wants to continue competing together. Katharina Gülich: the team leader gives the commandos and is impressively even-tempered and calm. She is a high school pupil. Sonja Mauermeier: a doctor’s surgery assistant, she is the strong one, Ruth- Maria Weiand is full of emotions and has to travel the furthest to team practice. Ramona Strassner likes to swap the doctor’s surgery for the sports hall and she is very much a live wire. Once the victory ceremony was finished, the four happy gold medal winners went on a lap of honour on the shoulders of their male teammates Blab, Schnabel, Rauch and Florian Blümmel – and then danced to a background of La Ola almost until the lights went out.

A further highlight: a win in their opening match for the German cycle-ball duo Berner/König, who are from the local Gärtringen club. The pair won 7-3 against their bogey team, Belgium. Rivals Switzerland had earlier beaten France 3-1. All hell broke loose in the Porsche Arena. “Deutschland” chants reverberated around the hall, a drumming festival, deafening noise. Matthias “Matze” König put his impressions in a nutshell: “It made my hair stand on end. I had goose bumps, shudders were chasing each other down my spine. But even though we were nervous we remained calm.” Can it get any better? Probably – on the second day of competition in the Stuttgart cauldron.

On Saturday, Rauch/Egert and the Blümmel brothers will be battling for medals in the open pairs competition. Other Germans in the hunt for medals are Schultheis/Sprinkmeier and Soika/Wurster in the women’s pairs category.


World Champs extra / 26.11.2010

Anthem for Hein?

“I suddenly felt pain, in my back,” reported Corinna Hein, who has come to Stuttgart to defend her title in the individual women’s category. And her final practice sessions were accordingly downbeat. “But the treatment has worked well and I’ve been well looked after,” said the pugnacious 27-year-old whose goal remains nothing other than to win the World Championships gold medal in the Porsche Arena. “Yes, I’m used to having to go last. I know what it’s like to be the favourite.” Anxiety is not in her vocabulary.

For German-born Corinna Hein seldom takes a risk. “I concentrate more on safety first and it’s been that way ever since I was at school.” She hardly makes any mistakes and her performances are generally perfect. “Now I’m looking forward to the crowd. One really does register their applause. I don’t find it to be off-putting.” Artistic cycling certainly is not the “here one can hear a pin drop sport”. The fans allowed themselves to be electrified by the first performances and the atmosphere is improving by the hour.

“It’d be wonderful if the broadcasts and the media reports made our sport more appealing to the general public. Perhaps there would be more of a focus on the German Masters or the German Championships,” said Corinna Hein who is hoping for a certain degree of sustainability. She would also like to profit herself from any future improvements, retirement is not something she is contemplating at the moment. The 2011 championships in Japan, 2012 in Germany and 2013 in Switzerland are her next big targets.

All obviously in her “free time”. She wants to finish off her doctorate in the middle of next year and then work in industry or research. The scientist does not only have “a thirst for knowledge and single-mindedness” as references but also, for instance, six foreign languages. She speaks Spanish fluently which will be a big help for the planned winter holiday in Cuba. Boyfriend Jens thought the idea of discovering the island on touring bikes, and a tent, was tremendous. It was also the form of transport that was used to travel – up to 190 kilometres a day – around the world for four months back in 2006.

But the Porsche Arena is virgin soil for the 27-year-old. A concert would go down well, how about Simply Red, who were performing in the Hanns Martin Schleyer Halle at the same time on Friday? “Musically speaking I’ll listen to virtually everything,” but not quite so much the folk music of her parents. How about the national anthem after the last performance on Sunday, Ms Hein?


Press Release / 26 November 2010

World Games in focus

The Indoor Cycling World Championships began with a climatic shock for some competitors. The team from Malaysia, who are accommodated in a youth hostel, had to first clear the snow from their team vehicle. And a white layer had also descended on Denkendorf, where the Ukrainians are housed. Winter in Swabia but there was a comforting warmth in the Porsche Arena for the start of the competitions. At 9.04 am precisely, the Japanese scored the opening goal in the first cycle-ball match and the World Championships were up and running. After two seven minute halves, Japan, who are represented by a large delegation in Stuttgart, won 8-1.

The vice-president of the “Bund Deutsche Radfahrer” (BDR – the German Cycling Union) Harry Bodmer had some good news. Together with the UCI, they are trying to get indoor cycling included in the World Games, the event for non-Olympic sports. “Talks are taking place at the moment. The goal is to be an invitation discipline in 2013,” said Bodmer in an interview with a local newspaper.

The World Championships in Stuttgart could be a “door opener” – and push the whole image of artistic cycling and cycle-ball. A full Porsche-Arena, an exciting atmosphere as positive arguments for the future. A nod in the direction of a further globalisation is the naming of Japan to host the next World Championships. One year later in 2012 they will return to Germany: Aschaffenburg will be the next “home game” for the four-time individual World Champion, David Schnabel. Then it is the turn of Basel in 2013 and Beat Hubli, the reporter for the Swiss “Sportinformation” agency, will be hoping for wins from his countrymen. The indoor cycling expert will celebrate his 20th World Championships as a journalist in the Porsche Arena. All-in-all over 60 media representatives will be reporting from the championships, which will be officially opened at 7.00pm by the Lord Mayor of Stuttgart Dr. Wolfgang Schuster, Rudolf Scharping, the BDR president and Fritz Ramseier, the UCI board member. 150 competitors from 21 nations will take part in the indoor event.