September 3/10 23:33 pm - MTB World Championships: 4X final report
Posted by Editoress on 09/3/10
MSA World Championships - 4X Final
Our coverage of the 2010 World Championships brought to you with the support of Shimano
In a stunning upset, Australia's Jared Graves was defeated for the men's 4-Cross title at the world championships in Mont Ste Anne, beaten by Czech rider Tomas Slavik in the final turn of the race. Graves' team mate Caroline Buchanan was more successful, defending her title ahead of Jana Horakova of the Czech Republic.
Mont Ste Anne returned to the old-style way of holding the 4-Cross late at night under lights. A crowd well into the thousands covered both sides of the course from top to bottom.
In the women's race, all of the favourites except Anneke Beerten (Netherlands) made it through the first quarter final round. In the semi finals, World Cup champion Anita Molcik (Austria) was the next favourite to get knocked out, leaving Buchanan, Horakova, her Czech team mate Romana Labounkova and young British rider Katy Curd for the medal heat.
Buchanan didn't leave anything to chance, going to the front out of the gate, jumping the big double after the third corner - the only woman to do so - and then holding off a late charge by Horakova. Canada's lone entry, Anne Laplante, finished ninth
"The lights were a problem," Buchanan commented. "It's good that I knew the course, because when you went through the first corner you couldn't really see anything. Having the others close behind really pushed me to keep going hard. Everything just went my way tonight."
Buchanan revealed that this will likely be her last 4-Cross competition until after the 2012 Olympics, where she hopes to race BMX.
In the the men's race, there were no surprises through the first two rounds, with all the top riders advancing to the semi finals. Graves and Roger Rinderknecht (Netherlands) advanced to the medal race from one final, with Slavik and his team mate Michal Prokop from the other.
In the final, it look to be Graves all the way. The World Cup champion took the lead out of the gate, and was leading comfortably through the first three corners. However, Slavik was keeping him in reach and, on the final corner, went wide. Graves took the inside line through the rock garden, slowing enough for Slavik to overtake him for the final straight.
"After Michal Prokop has been world champion [in 2002], it's an honour for me," said Slavik. "That's the dream of everyone to be a world champion. I saw the line is pretty fast to go to the outside. Jared left me three metres on the outside line, and you don't get many chances to be world champion, so I just tried it."
Graves admitted that Slavik's move caught him by surprise. "I hadn't seen any passes going on lower down the course. I should have paid more attention on other races on the big screen. Tomas made a great race, there's nothing else I could have done, I don't think. As we saw tonight, 4-Cross isn't always just about the start."