The pumptrack world was rocked with some awesome news this past year. Union Cycliste International (UCI), the official governing agency for sports cycling, formally recognized pumptrack as a discipline and endorsed the first ever UCI Redbull Pump Track World Championships in 2019. We're delighted to be finally recognized and wanted to share this important news with our readers. We also want to quickly recap the results, and share video from last year’s event that took place in October in Bern, Switzerland because who doesn’t love to watch pumptrack athletes show off their skills, right?
The origin story behind the UCI RedBull Pump Track World Championships
At the end of 2017, Velosolutions founder Claudio Caluori had the idea of creating true world championships with qualifiers around the world, making pump track racing accessible even to countries and individuals who wouldn’t usually be able to afford travel. Claudio and Velosolutions planned qualifying events all around the world, with winners of each event winning a flight to the grand finale at the end of the season.
Red Bull was immediately on board with Velosolutions in this effort, and the first Red Bull Pump Track World Championship took place in 2018, with the grand finale in Springdale, Arkansas, USA.
That same year, UCI announced Pump Track as an official cycling discipline, classified under mountain bike riding and endorsed the first ever UCI Redbull Pump Track World Championships to take place in 2019.
The winners of UCI world championship events receive rainbow jerseys. If you’re a cycling athlete, being awarded a rainbow jersey is a very big achievement, akin to winning an Olympic gold medal. We couldn’t be happier to celebrate this big milestone in pump track sports and celebrate these worthy athletes.
Recapping the first UCI Redbull 2019 Pump Track World Championship
One hundred of the world’s best pump track athletes battled it out for the honor of donning the rainbow stripes at the final competition in Bern in 2019.
The athletes qualified at one of the 25 races that took place around the globe throughout the year, or succeeded in a last chance qualifier the evening prior to the main event.
The international pool of athletes was impressive and included:
- The Philippines
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- multiple locations throughout Europe and the USA
On the day of the UCI Redbull Pump Track World Championships, the pump track athletes rode timed trials around the track. The riders with the fastest times moved forward as the pool narrowed to 32, then 16 and down, until there were four riders left in the semi-finals to compete for the title of World Pumptrack Champion.
The athletes that headed into the semi-finals were:
We write a brief synopsis of the semi-finals and finals below, but watch the full video from Red Bull below to experience the race yourself. (If you want to start at the semi-finals, start at around 14:27.)
2018 champion Von Niederhӓusern rode hard in the semi-finals to beat out Hájková for the bronze medal. Qualifying for the final run were Ridenour (I mean, the name “ride” is right in her name, certainly an unfair advantage there 😆), and Aeberhard, with the home country advantage. Ultimately, the young Ridenour took home the gold, and the rainbow jersey for the USA.
Zula and Borel vied for the championship in the mens, with Clerté, who was riding with an injured shoulder from the previous day, beating out Bensik’s time to receive the bronze medal. This is the second year in a row that Clerté placed, taking home silver last year. Zula beat out Borel for the gold, making it a sweep for the USA.
What’s amazing is that the gold winner champs claimed their victories with times that were just fractions of a second faster than the silver winners, demonstrating just how much effort it takes to qualify as a champion in this game.
We wish the 2019 winners well and a big congratulations on their achievement, as well as all of those who participated from every corner of the globe, and we look forward to reporting on the next world championship event.
We'd like to give a special thank you to Claudio Caluori for sharing the history of the Pump Track World Championships, so that we could write this article. Thanks Claudio!
What do you think of UCI recognizing pump track as an official discipline? What did you think of the 2019 world championship? Do you have plans to participate? 👇Tell us in the comments below.👇