Posted by Editor on 07/25/09
A brand new World Cup 4-Cross track at Mont Ste Anne yielded victories for Anneke Beerten (Suspension Center) and Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team) Saturday evening in the sixth round of the World Cup circuit.
The real miracle of the evening was the absence of rain. Higher on the mountain, the clouds were thick and it was quite obviously raining. However, thanks to the wind coming from the ocean, the clouds weren't able to come low enough to affect things. So it was all left up to the course.
The new course is winning high praise from almost all the riders, with Graves saying: "It is ready for the Worlds next year, I wouldn't change a thing." There are, of course, the usual rollers, berms and massive jumps, but there is also a rock garden, and other large rocks out on the track. As Beerten said yesterday, it truly is more “mountain bikey” than most of the 4-Cross courses.
The other pleasure this evening was a highly efficient organization, which permitted the entire race to be concluded in less than an hour. A tip of the hat from all concerned to Gestev, the event organizers.
In an event that is often hampered by a lack of participants it was great to see 12 women racers and three full rounds of racing. The main contenders were Beerten, former World Champion and World Cup leader Jill Kintner, and current World Champion Melissa Buhl (KHS). However, a number of crashes ultimately had an effect on the outcome.
Buhl was one of the victims of a crash in the semi finals. She came back to win the small final for the evening securing a fifth place overall. This set up a final of Beerten, Kintner, Fionn Griffiths (Norco World Team) and Joanna Petterson. Early in the final, Kintner crashed about halfway down and got up quickly only to crash again lower on the course. Griffiths followed Beerten in for second place, with Petterson in third as Kintner limped in for fourth, losing her World Cup lead.
Beerten assumed the World Cup lead with her win. “This course is really technical and quite difficult. It has a lot of mountain bike features in it, especially with the little bit of rain we had today which made it slippery. It was a really fun course to ride. I like the more downhill style courses, so this was maybe a little better for me. I love riding this track. Gates have been so important for me to improve on and I was so focused on the final. I was surprised and happy with this one. I'm back in the lead but the points are so close its all going to come down to the final.”
Kintner was clearly disappointed. “We came out of the gate pretty even. We banged bars on the first straight and she got a little ahead. So I decided to hang back a little bit and wait until I could get by. Then my front wheel just washed out in one of the corners and that was it. I couldn't get my foot clipped back in and I crashed again. I can't catch a break here. I either win or I crash.”
Canada had one woman in the event, Anne Laplante. Laplante challenged Anita Molcik right to the finish in the first round for second, but just lost out.
Jared Graves took his fourth World Cup victory of the year, and clinched the men's title with two rounds still remaining. His win was doubly impressive after a flat tire in the quarter final round had him sprinting down over half the course to still finish second - which was upgraded to first after heat winner Mickal Prokop was disqualified for cutting a corner. Except for that mishap, Graves was perfect all evening.
World champion Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas (Specialized) took second, with Tomas Slavik third and Roger Rinderknecht (GT Bicycles) fourth after crashing in the final. Dan Atherton (Animal-Commencal) took the small final for the fifth podium spot.
Rinderknecht continues to hold second in the overall standings, and was likely to give Graves a run for his money until the crash. “I was going well right until the finals, but unfortunately I crashed. But I was still able to get fourth so I've still got a strong standing. I think that this was one of the best courses this year. Big banked turns. Rocks. It had everything.”
National champion Hans Lambert (Norco) was Canada's only men's entry, and crashed out in the first round with Daisuke Kurowsawa, who was disqualified.
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