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International MTB Roundup: Four-cross, XC, Downhill

American Jill Kintner (Red Bull-Intense) and Australian Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox) took home top honors at the Houffalize, Belgium Four-cross World Cup. The race marked the debut of World Cup Four-cross racing at the Houffalize venue, and was the second round of the 2009 series.

Kintner, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in BMX, has been making her return to Four-cross racing after spending a year away from her sport. The three-time world Four-cross champion fumbled her return to the sport at the 2009 World Cup opener in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where she finished a distant fifth.

In Houffalize, however, Kintner was nearly unstoppable. Despite finishing second in the semi finals, Kintner rode to victory in the finals ahead of Jana Horakova (Czech Republic), with World Cup points leader Anneke Beerten (Suspension Center) in third.

Graves, who also spent 2008 chasing the Olympic BMX gold, dominated the men’s competition. After reigning world and World Cup champ Raphael Alvarez (Specialized) crashed out, Graves breezed to the victory ahead of Dan Atherton (Animal-Commençal).

Four-cross World Cup No. 2
Houffalize, Belgium

1. Jared Graves (Aus), Yeti-Fox
2. Dan Atherton (GB), Annimal-Commençal
3. Roger Rinderknecht (Sw), GT
4. Joost Wichman (Nl), Cannondale
5. Romain Saladini (Fr), Team Sunn

1. Jill Kintner (Red Bull-Intense)
2. Jana Horakova (CZ), Czech Republic
3. Anneke Beerten (Nl), Suspension Center
4. Romana Labounkova (Cz)
5. Melissa Buhl, KHS

Downhill World Cup Heads To La Bresse
The UCI downhill World Cup heads to La Bresse, France this weekend for the second round of the 2009 series. La Bresse, a town in the Vosges mountains, has hosted stops on the French mountain bike Cup since 2003. This marks its debut as a World Cup venue, and marks the first time since 2004 that the series heads to France.

The course tops out at just over 3000 ft elevation, and finishes in the town of La Bresse after a 1000-foot elevation drop.

After taking wins at the World Cup opener in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) currently lead the series.

Fullana, Absalon Lead XC World Cup
After taking convincing wins a the third round of the 2009 UCI cross-country World Cup, held May 3 in Houffalize, Belgium, Spaniard Margarita Fullana and Frenchman Julien Absalon currently lead the series standings.

Fullana, the reigning world champion, now leads the series with 600 points ahead of Austrian Elisabeth Osl (Central Ghost) of Austria. The top-ranked North American rider is Catherine Pendrel (Luna) in sixth.

Absalon, who won in Houffalize and the second round in Offenburg, Germany, holds a commanding lead in the series with 700 points. The top-ranked North American rider is Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) in 25th.

2009 UCI Cross-Country World Cup Standings (after three rounds)

1. Julien Absalon (F), Orbea, 700 points
2. Wolfram Kurschat (G), Topeak-Ergon, 540
3. Burry Stander (SA), Specialized, 460
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (F), Massi, 420
5. Jose Antonio Hermida (Sp), Multivan-Merida, 380

1. Margarita Fullana (Sp), Massi, 600 points
2. Elisabeth Osl (Aut), Central Ghost, 530
3. Irina Kalentieva (Rus), Topeak-Ergon, 450
4. Chengyuan Ren (Chn), Chinese National, 410
5. Lene Byberg (N), Specialized, 405

La Ruta Cuts Price Tag for ’09
Cota Rica’s La Ruta de los Conquistadores stage race is offering 20 percent off its registration price for the 2009 race. The offer expires May 31. The race runs November 11-14 2009. For more information visit www.adventurerace.com .

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