© Emrik Jansson
Relive the best moments from the Pump Track World Qualifier in Åre
Pump track madness as the UCI World Championships takes over Åre Bike Park. Who clocked the fastest times? Which were the best photos? Find out below.
Incredibly fast two-wheeled action and tight racing was the name of the game when the Red Bull UCI Pump Track Qualifier took over Åre for a day. An event that had everything from World Champions to one of the largest women’s fields ever, and there was definitely no shortage of exciting head-to-head racing. Despite the heavy rain clouds luring on the horizon, the atmosphere was buzzing and the riders hungry for the win. In the end, it was Swedish BMX racer Helena Sund and USA’s Tommy Zula who kept it pinned enough to grab that elusive top spot on the podium.
As Zula has already qualified for the World Championship, second-place finisher Oskar Kindblom got the first-place ticket to Santiago in Chile where the big final will be held later this year.
Want more photos? Scroll down to check out the big photo album at the end!
Sund in domination mode
Helena Sund dominated the women’s field from start to finish, putting down super consistent times and was also the only one to clock a sub-22 second lap. Saying that, the large women’s field was no easy feat with Freerider Alma Wiggberg and the two Enduro racers Elina Davidsson and Filippa Ring hot on her wheels, making it into the Top 4. The biggest stoke award of the day however went to the riders in the Women + Wheelz crew who, as well as racing themselves, took trackside cheering to a whole new level.
“It’s been such a fun day. I’ve had a really good time with all the other riders and that means a lot”, Helena Sund said after the race. “I felt very consistent all day and tried to keep it that way. I’m so excited about going to Chile and hopefully I can get some of the other girls who qualified to join me”.
Battle of the nations
In the men’s, racing got more and more exciting as the heats went on, with racers sometimes separated by a mere 0.1 of a second. Several riders had made the trip over to Sweden to compete for the elusive first-place ticket to the World Championships in Chile later this year. With riders from Latvia, the Netherlands and the USA there were a lot of hungry riders looking to take home the first place spot.
In the end, it would also become a battle of the nations with 2019 Pump Track World Champion Tommy Zula from the USA grabbing first place just ahead of Sweden’s Oskar Kindblom. Latvia's Mikus Davids Strazdins took third ahead of Max Van Eijndhoven from the Netherlands.
As Zula had already qualified for the World Championship earlier this year, his first-place ticket went to Kindblom, who will get to represent Sweden together with the rest of the Top 4 in Chile.
“It was an amazing race, but a lot of pressure. Legs were tired and Oskar was going faster every lap so the pressure was on”, Zula said and added that he was amazed by the hospitality he’d experienced in Sweden during the week.
Oskar Kindblom was happy with 2nd and excited to get the all-expenses ticket to the World Championship: “It feels very special. It’s going to be awesome".
"In the past, I’ve struggled a lot with race nerves, but today I feel like I just got more calm as the race went on. I got some well-needed confidence early on clocking some fast times and by the time finals rolled around I was completely calm which is very special for me. It’s been great having Zula here this week to race against, so you really get to taste the real thing.”
As for any goals in Chile, he says that he’s going to try and keep it chill: “As I’ve struggled with nerves in the past, I’ve tried to have hope but not set myself expectations that are too high. The most important thing is that I feel good on the bike and I’m happy with how I’m riding.”
Women Top 4
- Helena Sund - SWE - 21.386
- Alma Wiggberg - SWE - 22.623
- Elina Davidsson - SWE - 22.971
- Filippa Ring - SWE - 23.967
Men's Top 4
- Tommy Zula - USA - 17.443
- Oskar Kindblom - SWE - 17.698 - (Vinner VM-biljetten till Chile)
- Mikus Davids Strazdins - LAT - 18.200
- Max Van Eijndhoven - NED - 19.044