By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
Eric Carter and Sabrina Jonnier were the last riders standings when the dust — literally — cleared after a carnage-filled evening of four-cross racing at World Cup No. 4 in Telluride, Colorado on Saturday. Among those who didn’t ride off the course were reigning dual world champions Brian Lopes and Anne-Caroline Chausson, who both suffered highlight-reel crashes on the lightning-fast, John Tomac designed course.
Lopes, who went down right at the finish of one semifinal round, but did manage to clean himself off and returned for the small final to take fifth, which allowed the GT-Fox rider to remain in the overall series lead.
Chausson wasn’t so lucky, though. The Frenchwoman got tangled up with Katrina Miller in the first turn of the final, crashed hard and had to be taken off the course on an inflatable backboard. Word from her Volvo-Cannondale camp later in the evening was that Chausson had probably suffered a severe concussion and she was being taken to the hospital in nearby Montrose for a CAT scan. Her status for Sunday’s downhill was still up in the air, but team manager Eric Wallace was hopeful.
“It’s not out of the question that she’ll race tomorrow,” he said. “But they need to go somewhere where they could get a good X-ray done.”
With Chausson out of the race and Miller hopelessly off the back, Jonnier and Maxxis rider April Lawyer had an easy run to the finish. Jonnier’s (Intense) win allowed her to close the gap in the overall standings, cutting her deficit behind Chausson from 50 to 20. Meanwhile, Lawyer was just ecstatic to be on the second step of the podium, the highest she’s ever been at World Cup.
“I got pretty lucky, but I’ve had a lot of bad luck this year too,” Lawyer said. “All those years racing [snowboarder] cross really helped today. You learn that people are always going to crash and if you just can keep it upright good things can happen.”
Jonnier, too, admitted that her win had been a bit of a gift.
“I was third before Anne and Katrina crash,” she said. “Then I just see a lot of dust and Anne was on the ground.”
Others who crashed during the race included Trek-Volkswagen’s Wade Bootes and Mio Suemasa, Haro’s Mike King, Yeti’s Tara Llanes and Royal’s Diana Margraff.
Carter stayed upright, though, and didn’t need any outside assistance, as the Mongoose-Hyundai rider led from start to finish in the men’s final.
“I got a good gate start,” Carter said. “Then it was just no brakes. Over one of the jumps the wind caught me and I thought I was going down, but I kept it up.”
Frenchman Cédric Gracia was hard on Carter’s tail during the entire final, but couldn’t reel him in, settling for second. Greg Minnaar and Nathan Rennie completed the podium.
Racing in Telluride concludes Sunday with the downhill finals at 2 p.m. Check back to VeloNews.com for a full report, results and photos.
— After a hard crash in downhill practice that left him with a severely bruised right knee, Steve Peat opted out of the four-cross Saturday. Peat said he’ll be okay for the downhill, though.
— Former Volvo-Cannondale team manager Charlie Livermore has been named to that same position for the elite U.S. world’s team that will travel to Kaprun, Austria in late August for the world championships.
TISSOT UCI WORLD CUP; DOWNHILL/FOUR-CROSS NO. 4; Telluride, Colorado; July 13-14; Four-Cross; Men; 1. Eric Carter (USA), Mongoose-Hyundai; 2. Cédric Gracia (F), Volvo-Cannondale; 3. Greg Minnaar (SA), Global Racing; 4. Nathan Rennie (Aus), Yeti-Pearl Izumi; 5. Brian Lopes (USA), GT-Fox; 6. Brian Schmith (USA), Mongoose-Hyundai; 7. Sean McCarroll (Aus), Global Racing; 8. Will Longden (GB), MBUK
Women; 1. Sabrina Jonnier (F), Intense; 2. April Lawyer (USA), Maxxis; 3. Katrina Miller (Aus), Jamis; 4. Anne-Caroline Chausson (F), Volvo-Cannondale; 5. Tara Llanes (USA), Yeti-Pearl Izumi; 6. Celine Gros (F), Morzine-Avoriaz; 7. Jamie Lilly (USA); 8. Kathy Pruitt (USA), Foes-Azonic
World Cup Four-Cross Standings; (after 4 of 5 races); Men; 1. Lopes, 115 points; 2. Gracia, 106; 3. Carter, 100; 4. Wade Bootes (Aus), Trek-Volkswagen, 77; 5. Mike King (USA), Haro-Lee Dungarees, 72; 6. Michal Prokop (Czh), Be One, 57; 7. Steve Peat (GB), Orange England, 50; 8. Kirt Voreis (USA), Haro-Lee Dungarees, 35; 9. Minnaar, 30; 10. Longden, 28
Women; 1. Chausson, 170 points; 2. Jonnier, 150; 3. Miller, 125; 4. Llanes, 70; 5. Gros, 65; 6. Lawyer, 45; 7. Lisa Sher (USA), Chumba Wumba, 20; 8. Vanessa Quin (NZ), Intense, 17; 9. Melissa Buhl (USA), KHS/ODI; 10. Lilly (USA), 7