Posted by Editoress on 06/10/07
Champéry World Cup Switzerland
Coverage sponsored by Maxxis, and Vélirium
Round two the 4-cross World Cup in Champery, Switzerland was an American affair, as well as one for GT Bikes. GT riders Jill Kintner and Brian Lopes took the women's and men's titles, as well as the overall lead in the World Cup, in a rain-delayed and crash filled event.
The course drew both praise and negative comments from the riders, but there is no doubt that spectators saw more passing than usual, with Kintner and Lopes both having to come from behind in their Finals to win.
After only the first three heats torrential rain moved in, sending everyone scurrying for cover. Officials elected to wait out the rain, which proved to be the right move, since racing was able to resume within half an hour of being stopped.
Post-rain, some sections became slick, especially at the bottom out of the last turn when the riders hit pavement - which a number did literally. A a big mud puddle in that last corner added greatly to spectator amusement when riders went face first into it.
The women's final came down to Kintner, Rachel Seydoux of Switzerland, Fionn Griffiths (Norco) and Mio Suemasa. Missing from the final was World Cup leader Anneke Beerten (Bikepark.ch), who unclipped in her semi-final and didn't finish in the top-2 to move on.
Kintner hit the gate early, and therefore didn't not come to the first corner in her usual place at the front. In fact, she was last out of the gate, but showed that she was the class of the field by picking off the other three riders easily by the halfway mark.
"I thought I was ready and hit it right, but I hit the gate. After that I had to make three passes, but I had everybody covered on the straightaway, or I could get by them on the final sprint on the pavement."
Newcomer Seydoux took second, with Griffiths third.
Lopes, world champion Michal Prokop (Author), Filip Polc (Gravity Group) and Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) made up the men's final. Lopes had qualified fastest, and was easily the quickest out of the gate for each run until the Final, when Prokop nipped him.
However, Prokop took too much speed into the first corner and had to brake, going wide, which allowed Lopes to sneak through and open a gap on the other three. Prokop soon got back on track to take second, ahead of Polc, who passed Atherton through the final corner for third.
"It was a little bit of work, definitely, to get the win. Prokop is fast, but I just let the race come to me. Prokop got the jump, but he had to hit the brakes, and I got the inside and let it go. After that it was just a matter of laying down some horsepower. I was running flat pedals, which allowed my to put my foot down through the corners, and I think that made a difference from the guys who had to clip and unclip."
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