Simon Gegenheimer becomes Vice World Champion in Barcelona. With Ricky Morales, his teammate from Puerto Rico also brought the bronze medal to the German Mountainbike Racingteam
It was the expected duel between the two best mountain bike sprinters in the world, Titouan Perrin-Ganier from France and the German Simon Gegenheimer. In the last ten months they have already dueled each other in the World Cup on all five continents by a centimeter, here with a wafer-thin lead for the German opponent. At the World Championships in Barcelona it was the Frenchman who was allowed to climb the very highest podium. Gegenheimer won the start, but according to his own statement, he rode the first corner too passively. In this, the Frenchman countered directly on the outside line and maintained his lead to the finish line. “I saw that Simon wasn't taking all the risks and knew I had to take this one chance. Simon is a great athlete and a very fair competitor, because at my overtaking maneuver he could have closed my lane, but even in a World Championship race for the title, you don't see that from him. A big compliment to the silver medalist and winner of the overall World Cup,” said the reigning world champion from France after the award ceremony.
These words could not comfort Gegenheimer's initial disappointment either: “It was in my hands and, despite having won the start, I should have taken the full risk into the corner. But the decisions you have to make during a race like this are intuitive, and unfortunately I made the wrong ones. My preparation, the training, my bike, my Racingteam, everything was perfect and would have brought me my second world championship title,” said the runner-up world champion in the subsequent press interview. And it really all looked like a mission to defend the title, Gegenheimer did well in the heats, looked safe over the obstacles and won the timed race between the Plaça d'España and the Parc Montjuïc in the city center of the Spanish metropolis. In addition, his Mountainbike Racingteam had positioned a teammate, Ricky Morales, in the sprint final. Ultimately it wasn't enough for gold, but the silver medal and the bronze medal went to the Mountainbike Racingteam in Aalen. And he will certainly be able to appreciate this silver medal after a while, it was much easier for the teammate from Puerto Rico: “I was initially disappointed at the finish, we wanted to win and it was my job to support Simon on this path. But at the beginning of this season I never thought I would wear a rainbow medal around my neck. My team is great and they told me all year, Ricky, wait for Barcelona, your day will come. And he came,” said the man who brought the first Mountain Bike World Championship medal to his Caribbean island. Team captain Steffen Thum also refers to a great season and that the Mountainbike Racingteam has a strong long-term squad: "Seven World Cup victories, the overall World Cup for men, second place for women, bronze and silver at the World Championships, but I'm more pleased than simply adding up the titles that we're not doing it all on one back, but with the entire racing team to stem. Simon as constant champion, Marion with the women, but also our latino newcomers show what we are capable of as a racing team. With an investment in shares, one would say extremely lucrative, short-term as well as long-term and still solidly secured with sufficient diversification,” says Steffen Thum, summing up the world’s most successful UCI team of the sprint season.