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FISE: Denver is upon us! We caught up with Daniel Dhers - the current leader in the UCI BMX Freestyle World Cup points race - to see how he’s feeling and what it’s going to take to retain the top spot.

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You’re currently in the points lead for the UCI BMX Freestyle Park World Cup. Has this been a major focus of yours this year?

For the last couple of years, the FISE World Tour has been a priority. And, now under the UCI, it has created even more interest. The tour is a great opportunity to see different places around the world. I always liked the tour type of competition - just like Dew Tour used to be - with the difference being that we are now going to all sorts of places around the world. The main objective is to be top five at each stop to get the free trip to the next stop, but being able to win the whole thing would be a great plus.


What are your thoughts heading into Denver? I know you’ve won some big events there before…

I haven’t been to Denver in like ten years - since I won my first ever Dew Tour stop. Going back for such a big event is awesome. I remember it was one of my favorite places to visit and it’ll be sweet to see some old friends!


The elevation in Denver is much higher than Osijek and Montpellier. Have you been doing anything special to prepare for this event?

Outside of riding, I have been working out a lot. I think adapting to every climate around the tour is a big factor, besides the riding in itself. You practice the tricks and you get them dialed, but the endurance to survive two one-minute runs with three riders per group makes it tough. This year, Montpellier was kind of cold and rainy. Croatia was super hot and humid, making it hard to breath. Denver’s altitude will add that extra layer of difficulty, so we’ll see who has been doing their homework to prepare.

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What have you been up to since FISE: Croatia?

Traveling and keeping busy with riding and DDASC. I went to Spain, Russia, and Brazil all back-to-back leading up to Denver, so it has been hectic. Riding and working out everyday while I’m at home those couple of days inbetween trips and, at the same time, taking care of things at DDASC. Luckily, I have a great team at DDASC to hold things down while I’m away.


What’s it going to take to keep the top hold on to the spot?

Consistency! FISE values being on your bike for two full runs, instead of doing a best-run-counts format, which changes the game. You have to be dialed at all of your tricks and have enough different tricks for both runs, which I think shows a better overall rider. It’s tough. Everyone is so good these days that a minimal mistake is what makes the difference to be on the podium or not.


Based on the drawings you’ve seen, what do you think of the course?

It seems like a really basic course with a bunch of jumps and a couple hips - not many intricate lines, so this will definitely be for the more “trick” rider. There’s a “street” area, but I don’t think many park guys will hit it, just like what happened in Croatia. These days, the course can make-or-break a style of riding - like NASS definitely favored riders who turned left. I wish this course had some more scary and challenging obstacles - like big step downs and hips - but it is what it is. Just adapt to it and ride it!Photo

Who are some of the riders you expect to do well in Denver?

I think the new era of riders are all insane - Daniel Sandoval, Colton Walker, Nick Bruce, Alex Coleborn… These are all guys who can take the win. This stop will also bring a lot of riders from North America who haven’t been able to go to the other stops in Europe, opening the door to even more guys who can upset the whole ranking.


Has anything changed on your bike since the last FISE stop?

Nah. I try to keep the same setup for the entire tour and I’ll play around with different setups once it is over. I don’t know if it’s a mental thing, but I change a tube and I'm already freaking out. Haha! Not really…


Should we expect to see any new tricks from you?

I have a couple things Ive been working on, but they aren’t as consistent as I would like them to be and, like I said before, you have to stay on your bike for two full runs. It will all depend on how everything is feeling that day.

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You now live in the United States. How do you feel about FISE finally taking place here?

I think it’s very important to have a stop in the States. BMX originated here, some of the best riders in the world have originated here, most of the industry is here - it’s almost mandatory to have one. It is tough because it seems like the BMX economy has been down in the States these last few years with events cutting back more than other places in the world, but I think this will be great for the riders, the industry, skateparks, the fans, and FISE/UCI. I really hope this is the first of many to come!


Why is it important to you to win the UCI overall title?

The UCI is the regulatory body for the bike realm including, MTB, Cycling, BMX Race, and so on. Having BMX Park is a great thing for the sport and this could eventually lead us to the Olympics. Some people might disagree with us being a part of them, but there are more pros than cons and, at the end of the day, we are talking about the competition side of BMX Park. The soul and lifestyle of the sport will still be what riders want it to be. Snowboarding made it in and it has only made them bigger. But, before we get ahead of ourselves and start talking about the Olympics, I think it’s always great to win a title after all the effort you put into competition, especially when is a tour of this magnitude.


Stay tuned to VitalBMX.com for FISE: Denver coverage!

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