Titouan Perrin-Ganier and Gaia Tormena are the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Champions!
And the 2022 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Titles go to … France and Italy! This Sunday in Barcelona, pre-race favorites Titouan Perrin-Ganier and Gaia Tormena have finished their 2022 season on the highest possible high, respectively bringing their fifth and third UCI world title home.
After a memorable 2022 season in which eliminator mountain biking set some huge steps forward, we couldn’t think of any better stage setting for this year’s final and biggest chapter: Barcelona, the world-famous Spanish metropole, welcomed the 2022 UCI World Championships. In between the Plaça d’Espanya and the majestic Montjuïc National Palace, the battle for the mythic rainbow stripes was decided on a short but spectacular urban track, featuring some renewed artificial obstacles and the already iconic stairs’ descent. Weather conditions were perfect, the eliminator stars hyped to end their 2022 season with a big bang.
The two defending UCI World Champions didn’t miss their start: Gaia Tormena and Simon Gegenheimer both won the qualifying time-trials. No surprise there, but one dark horse was immediately eliminated in the 1/8 finals after that: after winning his first ever UCI World Cup round earlier this year, Quentin Schrotzenberger now went out due to mechanical problems. In the quarter and semi finals following after that, some more important contenders didn’t manage to conquer a place in the big finals: Marcela Lima, Didi de Vries, Felix Klausmann and Jeroen van Eck, to name some.
The main favorites however all made their way to the big finals. In the deciding women’s race, Tormena had to battle a French duo, but it worked out well: the 20-year-old Italian lead out all race, managing to hold off Coline Clauzure (2d) and Noemie Garnier (4th) and taking the third UCI world title in her still very young career. After a convincing season in which she reigned in the UCI World Cup too, Tormena proved once again that she’s the woman to watch in what comes next. With silver for Clauzure and bronze for Sweden’s Ella Holmegard however, two other young talents rounded off the podium.
In the men’s category, the season could have had no better end: a good old duel between two eliminator icons, Gegenheimer and Titouan Perrin-Ganier. It was Perrin-Ganier who was coming out from the start boxes the best, holding the lead until the line, thus conquering the fifth UCI World Championship’s title of his rich career. Despite a memorable season, Gegenheimer was a disappointed second. In the battle for bronze, Ricky Morales managed to beat upcoming Austrian talent Theo Hauser. First time ever in cycling that a man from Puerto Rico manages to climb on the podium of a UCI World Championships?
“This is incredible. The cherry on the cake, I can say”, Gaia Tormena enjoyed, before kicking off her off-season. “I already knew that Barcelona is a track well-suited for me. I really love it. And I was so calm and focussed in the final heat too. It didn’t even seem like I was riding the UCI World Championships. But seeing all the rainbows after the finish line, I started to understand I took my third UCI World Championship’s title. Amazing!”
“I have no words”, a very emotional Titouan Perrin-Ganier welcomed his fifth UCI world title. “We had a super long and tough UCI World Cup season, in which I fought a lot of big battles with Simon. He won a lot of them, I finished second a lot of times. ‘Full gas, full gas’: that was the only thing that was in my head today. Before the finishing straight, I said to myself: ‘no more second place today’. And I got another rainbow!”
Men’s results – 2022 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Championships Barcelona
1. Titouan Perrin-Ganier (FRA)
2. Simon Gegenheimer (GER)
3. Ricky Morales (PUR)
4. Theo Hauser (AUT)
5. Jeroen van Eck (NLD)
Women’s results – 2022 UCI Mountain Bike Eliminator World Championships Barcelona
1. Gaia Tormena (ITA)
2. Coline Clauzure (FRA)
3. Ella Holmegard (SWE)
4. Noemie Garnier (FRA)
5. Isaure Medde (FRA)