Jumpers competing in the World Cup for the Western European League will have one last chance to qualify for the final in Las Vegas this weekend. Forty-four of the world's top riders will travel to Gothenburg, Sweden, to try and get their sesame.
On Sunday in Gothenburg, the tension will be palpable for numerous of the world’s best riders. Some of them will be playing their last card in their bid to qualify for the final of the Longines World Cup in Las Vegas in April. While some are already sure to have their ticket for the major event of the indoor season, such as the Germans Daniel Deusser and Marcus Ehning, the Italian Emanuele Gaudiano, the Irishman Denis Lynch and the Frenchman Kevin Staut, others will still have their work cut out for them if they are to be among the top 18 riders in the overall ranking of the Western European League. Indeed, only this sample will be selected to cross the Atlantic in April and compete against other leagues, such as those in West and East America.
Despite starting so well with a victory in the World Cup in Helsinki and the twenty points he collected at the end of last year, young Swiss Bryan Balsiger struggled to collect more points. Together with his loyal accomplice Clouzot de Lassus, he will be trying to hammer home the nail in his bid to take part in his very first indoor circuit final. The task will also be decisive for Harrie Smolders, who has thirty-three points against the forty usually required to win the precious sesame. Smolders is currently 23rd in the overall standings, but he could be forced to forfeit a number of places in the final to make the 18-qualifier list.