June 27/04 9:13 am - Mont Ste Anne World Cup
Posted by Editoress on 06/27/04
Mont Ste Anne World Cup - Nokia 4-Cross
by Mike Badyk
Jonnier wins again and Prokop unstoppable
It's no wonder that the 4-Cross is a spectator favourite. A pleasant evening with nice temperatures. The sun shining on the St. Lawrence River below the mountain. That and some of the best bike handlers in the world brought huge numbers of spectators.
This was another new 4-Cross course design for Mont-Sainte-Anne. Below the start the course split into two separate lanes. Then the course rejoined, leading into a series of large jumps, followed by two fast turns, and finally more jumps leading into the finish. The course was not universally loved by the competitors. Many were complaining that there weren't enough turns or berms. I suppose the old adage comes into play that if it's not a course suited to your style/technique then it's terrible, but if you're winning then it's the best course in the world. The male U.S. 4X specialists were particularly vocal in their criticism. Only one of them made it to the final. Regardless, the spectators loved it because they were guaranteed to see riders getting big air during each heat. At the biggest jump, flash bulbs went off constantly as the riders became airborne.
Continuing her winning ways, Sabrina Jonnie (FRA), the World Cup DH winner earlier in the afternoon, proved to be the strongest rider of the women's field. Jonnier was able to handily outsprint 3 US riders, Jill Kintner, Tara Llanes and Marla Streb (Luna Women's MTB Team) in the final. Jonnier had come second to Kintner in the 1st heat, but she made sure not to let her get an advantage in the subsequent races. Michelle Dumaresq was the top Canadian, but crashed heavily in the Finals.
Michal Prokop of the Czech Republic was the fastest qualifier and led every heat right from start to finish. He was able to hole-shot out of the starting gate over and over and usually had a bike length or more lead by the first set of jumps. It was an exceptional display of bike handling. Prokop defeated Bas De Bever (Netherlands), Brian Schmith (USA) and Guido Tschugg (Germany) in the finals. Prokop takes the lead in the 4-Cross World Cup points standing with his victory.
Top Canadian was Mathieu Laurin in 17th place. Hugo Donais crashed hard and had to be transported from the course after damaging is inner thigh on his handlebar.