With just nine weeks till the fifth and final round of the 2009 UCI Trials World Cup series in Rotorua, New Zealand, the very best international Trials riders went head to head in Round 3 in St Francois Longchamp in France.
And in Elite 26" Men it was a huge weekend for France with Gilles Coustellier, Vincent Hermance and Giacomo Coustellier thriving on home support to sweep the podium.
After the first two rounds, in Spain and Germany, Gilles Coustellier had been joint leader with Kenny Belaey of Belgium with Hermance in third. With Belaey finishing 4th and off the podium in St Francois Longchamp, Gilles will take a lead in the overall standings into the next round in Knokke-Heist in Belgium. But Kenny is sure to get a boost from riding at home. Coustellier was World Cup series winner in 2008 and completed the double when he won the World Championship and the UCI rainbow jersey in Val di Sole in Italy.
• Elite 20" Men went very much to form in 2009 with Benito Ros of Spain in first, his Spanish team mate, Dani Comas, 2nd and Poland's Rafal Kumorowski in 3rd - matching the current overall standings. Ros was another rider who won it all last year. He was 2008 World Cup winner and World Champion and completed the double when he won the World Championship and the UCI rainbow jersey, in Val di Sole in Italy. The win in France has given him a bit of a jump on Comas (who rode Elite 26" last year) after the two Spanish riders had shared the first two rounds in Spain and Germany.
• In Elite Women, 2008 World champion, Gemma Abant from Spain, took out first place from 2008 World Cup series winner, Karin Moor of Switzerland, who headed up the category after the first two rounds, this year. Karin's extraordinary run as World Champion - from 2001 to 2007 - ended in Val di Sole where Gemma - whose twin sister Mireia also competes and who was 3rd in France - won the gold. Still all to play for over the three categories in 2009 and it seems very likely nothing will be decided till Rotorua in September.
Round 4 of the series is in Knokke-Heist in Belgium from July 31 to August 2.
Then the riders head south for the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships at Mount Stromlo in Canberra, Australia from September 1 to 6.
A week later they will be in Rotorua, New Zealand for the fifth and final round from September 11 to 13.