You’re probably not familiar with the Indoor World Cycling Championships, a competition in which spandex-clad athletes perform balletic maneuvers and play sports on road bikes. But you should be. If it sounds like a sideshow or a circus event to you, erase your preconceptions, because the Cycling Championships are completely insane. It’s basically an amalgam of the X-Games, Olympic gymnastics and figure skating all rolled into one unapologetically eastern-European package.
This year, the competition took place in Stuttgart, Germany, and in a video recap of the event, we’re given a look at the elegant stylings of some very performative cyclists. Just look at them. During the Artistic Cycling event, everyone becomes a freakin’ ballerina-gymnast on wheels. There’s even a doubles category, so artistic cycling dudes can carry artistic cycling chicks to the tune of dramatic music. The whole thing looks like someone gave Nancy Kerrigan a bike instead of ice skates, and told her that anything less than championship glory would be an abject failure.
But hold up, there’s even more to it than that! There’s a Cycle Ball event, which we’ll let you figure out for yourself:
Germany won two gold medals, much to the delight of the home crowd. Austria won a bronze, which was apparently an underdog upset, according to a report from the Union Cycliste Internationale. We’ll have to wait until next year for more action. In the meantime, let’s lobby the International Olympic Committee to turn every sport into something on a bike. Eastern Europe would love it.
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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.