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Claude Hickman’s Flatland front-runners

20 Jun 2018 17:03

Expert picks: Claude Hickman’s Flatland front-runners for FISE Edmonton 2018

This week, we catch up with Flatland expert and Guinness World Record holder Claude Hickman. We ask him which Flatland riders we should keep an eye on at our next stop of the FISE World Series in Edmonton. 
FISE 2018 has already seen successful events in Hiroshima, Japan and in Montpellier, France where Flatland hosted some of the greatest riders in the world. Edmonton is one of the greatest vibes and the crowd has been one of the best I’ve ever experienced. Here’s what I think will go down at this year’s stop:  
The man to watch will certainly be Canada’s own “Dub” (Jean William Prevost). Although he sits in 5th place in the series, he is the returning 2017 champion and when he is at his best I believe he is the best. Watching Dub is like witnessing a violent tornado of a bike and rider. Prevost strings together seemingly impossible turbine tricks while pushing the edge of maintaining control or flying off the bike completely. If Dub can regain his focus and get his fire back, I believe that, with the support of the Canadian crowd, all things could work to his advantage. 
However, the consistency and constant levelling-up of Matthias Dandois has made him very difficult to dethrone. With the right pressure, since he will likely ride last, he may need to pull out even harder tricks in his skill-set as the pro line-up gets more stacked. Matthias feeds off the energy of great crowds and Edmonton has not disappointed when it comes to that. 
A stacked pro line-up means you have precision Japanese riders like Moto Sasaki who has lingered in the top four this year. But Moto has more, riskier tricks from years past that I have not seen him pull from. I personally would love to see him bring back many of his kickflip variations. The floor may not be ideal for that, or maybe he has moved on, but I think he will need to include one more signature combo to move into the top. 
The winner of Edmonton in 2016 was Alex Jumelin and he could certainly still rise to that podium spot again. The thing you have to know about Alex is that FISE Flatland is not only indebted to him for the past, but at each stop I see him working almost as an organizer, helping behind the scenes, making necessary adjustments so that riders have a great experience, even sweeping the floor in between heats. FISE Edmonton has become more dialled in each year and I think this will allow him to concentrate on just being a competitor. 
Overall ranked in the number three spot is Viki Gomez from Spain. Viki has a great variation of tricks and most of all his consistency going for him, in the year end ranking, I believe he can hold a top three spot just by going to all the stops this year. But Viki also has another level of tricks that he may decide to pull from, re-evaluating from France what it might take to outscore the points of Matthias or Alex. 
Not least is Benjamin Hudson from Chile, another rider that I personally love to watch. When he puts on his headphones, takes a deep breath, and gets into that flow that has become his signature style, he could drop a flawless run that raises the stakes for the entire line-up and I hope he sees that come together in Edmonton this year. 
That’s what I picture in my head, but you can’t really know what it’s like unless you experience it in person. It’s one thing to watch the Flatland story through a computer but you haven’t experienced the thrill of the FISE unless you are standing there, cheering and witnessing it yourself. Whether it is China, Hungary, or Edmonton, Canada, if you love Flatland, you must get to a FISE. 



Don’t miss the next round of the UCI BMX Flatland World Cup at FISE World Series Edmonton, starting 13 July. Keep up with all the action on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages. 
You can follow Claude Hickman on Instagram and Twitter