Posted by Editoress on 08/1/09
Round seven of the 4-Cross series of the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano offered spectators the most exciting evening of racing of the entire year. Bromont, Quebec in Canada was selected as the top 4-Cross World Cup of 2008, and organizers wisely decided not to mess around too much with the course. Crashes and upsets featured in every heat, and neither of the World Cup leaders won their respective events. Instead, Fionn Griffiths (Norco) took her second win of the season and Joost Wichman of the Netherlands took his third. Both moved into second in the overall standings behind leaders Anneke Beerten (Suspension Center) and Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox).
The women’s race saw perennial rivals Beerten and Jill Kintner of the United States move through to the Final, with Griffiths and Joanna Petterson (South Africa) joining them. In the Final, Kintner and Beerten tangled in the first corner, while Griffiths sneaked through ahead of them to take the win. Beerten managed to recover for second, with Kintner third. The result solidified Beerten’s lead in the overall standings at 480 points, but Griffiths has now moved up to join Kintner in second place, with both at 400 points.
“It was a hard course, with the corners being really square,” commented Griffiths. “Basically, whoever went into the first corner in first place had a problem, so I hung back a bit behind Jill and was then able to get out in front. After that, I just concentrated on riding down cleanly and not crashing.”
Canada had one entry to the women’s 4-Cross - locally based Anne Laplante – who finished 12th after going up against Kintner in the first round.
For the men, the top-seeded riders began to fall out of contention in the first round. World Cup leader Graves went out in the first round after crashing in the second corner. Number one qualifier Romain Saladini (Team Sunn) crashed out in the second round, as did Roger Rinderknecht (GT Bicycles), who was second in the World Cup rankings and world champion Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas (Specialized Factory Team). In the semi-finals it was the Czech rider Tomas Slavik who went down. This left Wichman, Dan Atherton (Animal-Commencal), Czech rider Michal Prokop and a newcomer to 4-Cross: American Junior rider Mitch Ropelato for the final. Wichman managed to get away early and miss the horrific crash that took down the other three riders, to coast in for the win. Ropelato was up first and took silver, while Atherton limped in for third ahead of Prokop. Both Atherton and Prokop were clearly injured, with the Atherton favouring his shoulder on the podium. Graves has already mathematically won the World Cup title, and Wichman now holds a 115 point lead over Rinderknecht going into the final round in Schladming, Austria after the world championships.
“There were so many corners, and whoever was first into the first corner had a problem,” explained Wichman. “The best line was always the inside one, but that gave you problems in the next corner, so it was very difficult to ride it cleanly. In the Final, I heard the crash behind me, but I didn’t look back, I just kept going because I wasn’t sure who was chasing me. I think this puts me in a pretty good position for second overall.”
Canadian champion Hans Lambert (Norco) did not start the 4-Cross after his crash in the Downhill earlier in the day. Matt Zdriluk finished 20th after going out in the first round.
1 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team
2 Anneke Beerten (Ned) Suspension Center
3 Jill Kintner (USA) Red Bull/Intense/Crankbrothers
4 Joanna Petterson (RSA)
1 Joost Wichman (Ned)
2 Mitch Ropelato (USA)
3 Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal
4 Michal Prokop (Cze) Author
5 Quentin Derbier (Fra)
|Return to Canadian Cyclist homepage | Back to Top|