Posted by Editoress on 07/26/08
Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup 4-Cross
Report by Mike Badyk
Coverage brought to you with the assistance of Velirium
World Champions Win
The racing today concluded with the 4-Cross, where the reigning World Champions, American Melissa Buhl (KHS) for the women, and Spaniard Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lu for the men, continued their winning ways. The hard fought competition featured crashes in both the men's and women's finals.
In what has to be considered a minor miracle, the rain held off for the completion of today's World Cup 4-Cross race. With qualifying and training cancelled yesterday due to the wet course conditions, everyone was in a hurry-up mode to get the training, the qualifying and the race in before the expected thunderstorm hit. The sky darkened, rolling thunder echoed off the hills and lightning was seen over the St. Lawrence River to the south, but besides a brief sprinkle of rain, dry conditions held for the heats.
For those familiar with the MSA 4-Cross course, this was a very different route. Both the start and the finish have moved higher up the hill. With the start higher, there was a considerable amount of open rock for the racers to contend with, including a set of rock stairs just out of the gate. Lower on the course there were berms, a new set of stutter bumps and just above the finish, the crowd favourite mega-jumps.
In the early rounds, the racers who had the choice of start lane had a clear advantage. Virtually everyone who started in the right lane (looking down the course) had an advantage into the first corner. That advantage most often lasted the rest of the way down the course. In other words, seeding was all important.
The women's final was comprised of Buhl, Mio Suemasa (MS-Intense), Fionn Griffiths (Norco), and Anneke Beerten (MS-Intense), who was last year's winner here at MSA, the World Cup leader and also the fastest qualifier today. From the start, Beerten had the lead but at the halfway point of the course she got high on a large berm and Buhl cut below her. As Beerten came down the berm she clipped Buhl's rear wheel and went down hard. She was briefly dazed but eventually rode the course down to finish fourth. At the finish it was Buhl, Suemasa and Griffiths.
Buhl was pleased with her first World Cup win. "I've not had too many wins before this. It's nice after the World's to make it official. It feels good. The World's for me were not a surprise but I probably wasn't one of the favourites. For sure I feel new pressure with the jersey (rainbow) but it also brings confidence." Buhl also commented on Beerten's crash. "I felt her back there. We were running out of real estate. I wasn't sure I was going to make the gate and I pushed to the outside and that's when she came in on me."
The men's final was equally eventful with perennial crowd favourite Cedric Gracia (Commencal-Oakley) crashing on the upper part of the course and potato chipping his front wheel. With one of his toughest rivals down, Alvarez De Lara Lu, cruised to victory with Romain Saladini (Sunn) in second and World Cup leader Guido Tschugg (Fusion) in third. Gracia slowly worked his way down the course, unable to do his usual jumps for the crowd. However, he did manage a brief stop to collect a beer from a fan, take a swig and then continue down. The crowd went wild.
Through his team manager and interpreter, Alvarez De Lara Lu was pleased with his win. "It was a easy race. I had the best time so I always had the best lane choice. I had no idea what happened behind me with the crash. The track was really hard the days before with the rain, but today was perfect. The track was nice. I've very happy."
In the World Cup 4-Cross points series, Alvarez De Lara Lu takes over the lead from Tschugg and Beerten maintains her lead in the women's field.
1 Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS
2 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing
3 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team
4 Anneke Beerten (Ned) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing
5 Anita Molcik (Aut) 4 Elements Yeti
6 Caroline Buchanan (Aus)
7 Eva Castro Fernandez (Esp)
8 Neven Steinmetz (USA)
9 Jessica Vogt (USA)
1 Rafael Alvarez De Lara Lu (Esp)
2 Romain Saladini (Fra) Team Sunn
3 Guido Tschugg (Ger)
4 CÃƒÂ©dric Gracia (Fra) Commencal - Furious - Oakley
5 Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze) Suzuki-Rb
6 Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal
7 Filip Polc (Svk) Kenda Tomac
8 Tomas Slavik (Cze)
9 Sascha Meyenborg (Ger)
10 Fabien Cousinie (Fra)
11 Thomas Tokarczyk (USA)
12 Jurg Meijer (Ned)
13 Joey Veghel (Ned)
14 Ludovic Gadois (Fra)
15 Michael Garcia (Ned)
16 Adrian Weiss (Sui) Tomac Factory Racing
17 Joost Wichman (Ned) Cannondale Factory Racing
18 Cody Eichhorn (Aus)
19 Bruno Boissin (Fra)
20 Scott Roberts (GBr)
21 Michael Robert Haderer (USA)
22 Dominik Gspan (Sui)
23 Heikki Hall (USA)
24 Scott Beaumont (GBr) Rocky Mountain Uk
25 Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Team Ghost International
26 Lewis Lacey (GBr)
27 Erik Nelson (USA)
28 George Stephenson (USA)
29 Nicolas Gspan (Sui)
30 Adrian Hanko (Ger) Solid Aclass Factory Team
DNS Jared Rando (Aus) Giant Mountain Bike Team
DNS Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycle
DNS Joey Schusler (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Rac
DNS Chris Kovarik (Aus) Chain Reaction Cycle
DNS Greg Minnaar (Rsa) Santa Cruz Syndicate
DNS Cody Warren (USA) Team Bike Radar
DNS Will Longden (GBr)
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