Posted by Editoress on 08/29/10
4X Champions Crowned in Windham
The 4-Cross World Cup series concluded on Saturday evening, with the crowning of one new champion and one repeat winner. Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox), who had already locked up the title, finished the season the way he started it, with a victory in the men's event. In the women's race, Austrian rider Anita Molcik overtook defending champion Anneke Beerten (Suspension Centre) to win both the final event and the overall title.
The natural terrain that highlighted the Windham course made for some tight racing, with passes and crashes meaning that no one was assured of moving on through the heats until they crossed the finish line.
The women's field was one of the biggest of the season, with quarter final heats being contested, as well as the usual semifinals. Beerten and Molcik had qualified 1-2, but others who could potentially be spoilers were world champion Caroline Buchanan of Australia, Czech rider Jana Horakova and her compatriot Romana Labounkova.
In the final it came down to Beerten, Molcik, Buchanan and Horakova. Buchanan had a bit of a rocky route to the final - she finished third in her opening heat after tangling with Fionn Griffiths (Norco) and crashing, but was reinstated when Griffiths was disqualified.
Out of the gate in the final Beerten took the lead, but Molcik was right with her. Then the Dutch woman's front wheel slid out, she was down and Molcik went on to win the race and the title. Buchanan took second, Horakova third, and Beerten limped in fourth, in shock at the way her World Cup season had ended. For Molcik, it was the first win of her career.
In the final standings, it was Molcik with 385 points, Beerten at 370 and Horakova at 270.
"Overall champion. it is so unbelievable. It was so hard, because I knew that if Anneke got to the finals, I had to get take a victory and she only needed to finish third for the overall, and I didn't think it would happen for me. Some of the other girls are faster, so maybe not, I thought. This is the first victory in my life for me at a World Cup and then the World Cup overall, it is so amazing."
In the men's race, it was more predictable, with Graves quailifying first and then easily riding away from everyone in each heat. There were no real surprises in the line up for the final, with Graves joined by his regular rivals from RSP 4 Cross Racing - Tomas Slavik and Joost Wichman - plus Michal Prokop (Agang Racing).
Out of the gate it was Graves and Wichman battling, with Prokop and Slavik just behind. Wichman hit the corner too hot and had to go wide, allowing Graves to get by. The other three got tangled up fighting for position, but in the end Prokop took the silver medal, followed by Slavik and Wichman.
Graves finished the season with four wins in six races, for 660 points, followed by Slavik at 475 and Wichman at 385.
"That final was pretty crazy up at the top. I say Joost coming in [to the first corner] foot out, sliding, and I sort of had a feeling something like that was gonna happen. Lane one was the inside, but it lined up terribly with the first corner, which made it really hard. But I saw him early enough that I could get on the brakes a bit and let him go, knew he was gonna come out wide and then go back past him on the second straight From there is was smooth and good, so I'm really happy with that one."
"My goal was to get a win, here especially with the World Champs next week. It is really good for the confidence. Really happy to get a win here. First time back in America for a World Cup for 5 years, and with Yeti being an American company, it's great to get the win for them."
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