Posted by Editoress on 09/19/09
Under the lights of the Planai ski slope in Schladming, Austria, the World Cup final of the 4-Cross took place Saturday night. Fittingly, the World Cup champions confirmed their titles with victories in the final round. Anneke Beerten (Suspension Centre) and Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox) were convincing winners amid a night of spills and upsets.
The men's series had already been won by Graves, the new world champion, but he wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to finish the season on a winning note. The Australian was untouchable, easily winning his heats in every round, often by huge margins. in the final, it came down to Graves, Romain Saladini (Team Sunn), Johannes Fishbach (Ghost ATG) and Dutchman Joost Wichman. Wichman ran into trouble at the top of the course, putting him out of contention, and the young Frenchman Saladini was able to hold off Fishbach for second behind Graves.
Saladini's second place bumped him up to third in the final standings behind Graves and Wichman, as he overtook the absent injured Roger Rinderknecht (GT Bicycles).
"It's been a good season," agreed Graves. "Tonight I was confident [of winning], but there were a lot of interesting moves and crashes happening out there. I wanted to go out on a strong finish to the season, so i knew what I had to do. There were a couple of small mistakes, but nothing that cost me, so it was a good night."
The women's race was somewhat anticlimactic. Unlike the men's series, there were still three riders in contention for the overall win - Beerten, Fionn Griffiths (Norco) and American Jill Kintner. However, Griffiths crashed the day before at qualifying and could not race, while Kintner crashed in her first round heat and did not finish. Therefore, Beerten had won her third consecutive title without even racing.
Despite that, the women's race saw its own action, with Beerten only scrapping through the semifinal round in second place after a serious challenge from the Czech rider Romana Labounkova. In the final, up against Austrian favourite Anita Molcik (Yeti Fox Shox), British newcomer Katy Curd and Japan's Mio Suemasa, Beerten left nothing to chance, grabbing the holeshot and riding it to her third win of the season.
Griffiths and Kintner were tied for points and number of wins at two apiece, but Griffiths took second in the final overall standings by virtue of two second places (Kintner had none), with an absent Melissa Buhl finishing fourth.
"This is my third title in a row, and it probably means the most," admitted Beerten. "This year, everyone was here, everyone was racing, so it was the biggest challenge to win. After [Fionn Griffiths] crashed, everyone was congratulating me, but I had to keep telling myself: 'remain focussed'. I still wanted to win, and Labounkova gave me a pretty hard time in the semifinal."
1 Anneke Beerten (Ned) Suspension Center
2 Anita Molcik (Aut) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team
3 Katy Curd (GBr)
4 Mio Suemasa (Jpn)
5 Romana Labounkova (Cze)
6 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Suspension Center
7 Rachel Seydoux (Sui)
8 Lucia Oetjen (Sui)
9 Helene Valerie Fruhwirth (Aut)
10 Eva Castro Fernandez (Esp)
11 Tereza Votavova (Cze)
12 Neven Steinmetz (USA)
13 Laura Brethauer (Ger)
14 Stephanie Teltscher (Ger)
15 Neza Knez (Slo)
16 Jill Kintner (USA) Red Bull/Intense
UCI World Cup 4X final overall standings
|1 Anneke Beerten (Ned) Suspension Center||580 pts|
|2 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team||400|
|3 Jill Kintner (USA) Red Bull/Intense||400|
|4 Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS||235|
|5 Jana Horakova (Cze)||205|
|6 Caroline Buchanan (Aus)||185|
|7 Anita Molcik (Aut) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team||125|
|8 Romana Labounkova (Cze)||120|
|9 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Suspension Center||110|
|10 Joanna Petterson (RSA)||90|
|11 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) funnyfancy.jp||60|
|12 Katy Curd (GBr)||50|
|13 Sarsha Huntington (Aus)||30|
|14 Rachel Seydoux (Sui)||15|
|15 Lucia Oetjen (Sui)||15|
|16 Eva Castro Fernandez (Esp)||10|
|17 Diana Marggraff (Ecu)||5|
|18 Helene Valerie Fruhwirth (Aut)||5|
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