The Spanish capital hosts the third Round of the 2022 season at the Madrid Arena
Madrid is the destination for the third stage of the 2022 X-Trial World Championship, as the title race returns to the Spanish capital for the first time since 2012.
Toni Bou (Repsol Honda Trial Team) and Adam Raga (TRRS) are the only active riders who have previously competed in Madrid, and they will be the favourites when competition returns to the city. 15-times Champion Bou, winner of the opening two X-Trials of the season both staged in France, has dropped just a single Championship point and holds a thirteen-point lead over Raga. But it has nonetheless been a competitive start to the campaign for the 4-times World Champion, who was separated from Bou by just a single mark all night last weekend in Chalon-sur-Saône.
While Bou and Raga will expect to resume this rivalry in the Final under the roof of the Madrid Arena, an interesting battle has developed for third over the opening two Rounds of 2022. Matteo Grattarola (Beta) produced an excellent second run in the Coliseum last week to add a fourth place finish to his season-opening podium, and it is the Italian who currently occupies the bronze medal ranking. But he is sure to have close competition from the likes of Jaime Busto (Vertigo), the reigning world number three looking to bounce back in front of the Spanish fans after a disappointing French tour.
A career-best fifth place finish for Sondre Haga (Beta) in Chalon-sur-Saône means he cannot be discounted; he is currently tied on points with Frenchman Benoit Bincaz (Gas Gas), for whom it was far from a happy homecoming at the start of this season.
Spanish representation will be boosted in Madrid by the inclusion of Gabriel Marcelli (Repsol Honda Trial Team) and Miquel Gelabert (Gas Gas). Marcelli was the Wild Card last weekend but admitted that nerves stopped him from making much progress, with the disadvantageous first starting position not aiding his cause as he crashed out in eighth position. Meanwhile reigning world number six Gelabert re-joins the series with little to lose as a replacement rider, and he will be keen to rediscover the form that took him to the Final at X-Trial Strasbourg in 2018.
With the top six from the 2021 World Championship all present at the Madrid Arena this weekend, a competitive and demanding contest is guaranteed. For the first time this season, the riders will tackle six sections in each of the first two runs as well as in the Final.
X-Trial Madrid gets underway this Saturday at 20:00 local time, and as always all of the action is available live and on demand at www.x-trial.tv