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Horakova, Graves take World Cup stop

The third round of the 4-cross mountain bike World Cup got under way Friday under a most un-Scottish sunny sky. Fort William has a seven-year tradition of top-notch racing — however, great weather is not one of the attributes that springs to mind when regulars think of Fort Bill. A steady breeze even kept the biting midge flies away during the race.

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By Rob Jones

Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox) wins his second World Cup.

Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox) wins his second World Cup.

Photo: Rob Jones

The third round of the 4-cross mountain bike World Cup got under way Friday under a most un-Scottish sunny sky. Fort William has a seven-year tradition of top-notch racing — however, great weather is not one of the attributes that springs to mind when regulars think of Fort Bill. A steady breeze even kept the biting midge flies away during the race.

The competition saw two newcomers move to the top step of the podium. Former world champion Jana Horakova (Suzuki-RB) took her first World Cup win, while Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox) won his second, the first since 2005. The World Cup leaders stayed the same – Guido Tschugg (Fusion) for the men and Anneke Beerten (MS-Intense) for the women.

The course was almost unchanged from last year’s world championships, with lots of bumps, fast berms and the possibility to pass even on the lower parts of the run. The course is more BMX-like than many, which may help explain the appearance of both Graves and Michal Prokop (Author) in the final. Both have been racing BMX for the last eight months, and both qualified for Beijing last weekend at the world championships in China. Their time off the mountain bike appears to have made little difference in their speed.

Graves ripping it up.

Graves ripping it up.

Photo: Rob Jones

In the men’s final, there were local hopes that last week’s winner, Dan Atherton (Animal Commencal), could repeat his victory; he went up against Graves, Prokop and Dutch rider Joost Wichman (Cannondale). And Atherton did battle all the way down the course, but it was with Wichman for second, which he eventually lost, because Graves was well out in front from the moment the gate dropped.

“It was my smoothest lap of the day,” he said. “In the others I had some contact with riders on the way down, but this one was completely clean. I had a good start, took the lead, and led it start to finish; it was clean.”

Joost Wichman (Cannondale Factory Racing) takes second in the men's race.

Joost Wichman (Cannondale Factory Racing) takes second in the men’s race.

Photo: R

Behind, Prokop went out of contention on the first corner, after his foot slipped off a pedal and (he claims) he got an elbow in the ribs from Wichman. Wichman jumped into second, Atherton challenged out of the second corner but couldn’t complete the pass. Tschugg won the small final for fifth to keep the leader’s jersey. But Atherton is closing in, only 50 points behind now.

In the women’s race, American Melissa Buhl (KHS) qualified first, after Beerten — the World Cup leader and winner of the first two rounds — flatted and finished 14th out of 16 starters.

Former world champion Jana Horakova (Suzuki-RB) scores her first ever World Cup win.

Former world champion Jana Horakova (Suzuki-RB) scores her first ever World Cup win.

Photo: Rob Jones

Beerten recovered in the heats to make it into the final with Horakova, Rachel Seydoux (Switzerland) and Buhl, but Horakova was showing through her runs that she was a force with which to be reckoned.

After Beerten made a rare mistake in the start and dropped out of contention, it was Horakova’s all the way – although, even if Beerten had had her usual strong start it might have made no difference; since the Czech rider was having a perfect night.

“I had a really good gate and took the lead, but even then I was worried about the first and third turns because they were loose and it would have been easy to crash. But this track … I like it, because it is more BMX-style.”

Seydoux took second, followed but Beerten and Buhl in fourth. Czech Romana Labounkova took the small final for the fifth and final podium spot.

Photo Gallery

Results

UCI World Cup

4-cross

Women

1. Jana Horakova (Cze) Suzuki-Rb

2. Rachel Seydoux (Sui)

3. Anneke Beerten (Ned) MS-Intense Factory-Racing

4. Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS

5. Romana Labounkova (Cze)

6. Mio Suemasa (Jpn) MS-Intense Factory-Racing

7. Anita Molcik (Aut) 4 Elements Yeti

8. Sarsha Huntington (Aus) —

9. Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team

10. Joanna Petterson (RSA)

11. Steffi Marth (Ger)

12. Eva Castro Fernandez (Esp)

13. Angelika Hohenwarter (Aut)

14. Diana Marggraff (Ecu)

15. Elisa Canepa (Ita) Playbiker – Iron Horse

16. Charlie Phillips (GBr)

Men

1. Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Racing

2. Joost Wichman (Ned) Cannondale Factory Racing

3. Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal

4. Michal Prokop (Cze) Author

5. Guido Tschugg (Ger)

6. Rafael Alvarez De Lara Lucas (Esp)

7. Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Team Ghost International

8. Cédric Gracia (Fra) Commencal – Furious – Oakley

9. Filip Polc (Svk) Kenda Tomac

10. Ross Milan (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Racing

11. Tomas Slavik (Cze)

12. Mickael Deldycke (Fra)

13. Lewis Lacey (GBr)

14. Frans Sjoblom (Swe)

15. Scott Beaumont (GBr) Rocky Mountain UK

16. Will Longden (GBr) Team Bike Radar

17. Jurg Meijer (Ned)

18. Thomas Schäfer (Ger)

19. Sascha Meyenborg (Ger)

20. Joey Van Veghel (Ned)

21. Michael Robert Haderer (USA)

22. Lee White (GBr)

22. Randal Huntington (Aus)

24. Adrian Weiss (Sui) Tomac Factory Racing

25. Kyle Strait (USA) Specialized Factory Racing

26. Lars Sternberg (USA)

27. Duncan Ferris (GBr)

28. Patrick Campbell-Jenner (GBr)

29. Rhys Willemse (Aus ) Tomac Factory Racing

30. James Norton (GBr)

31. Bernard Kerr (GBr )

32. Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycle

33. Daniel Auerswald (Ger) IXS Sports Division Racing

34. Martin Ogden (GBr)

35. William Evans (GBr)

36. Dave Richardson (GBr)

37. Adrian Kiener (Sui)

38. Nicolas Gspan (Sui)

39. Mitchell Scarr (Aus)

40. James Wilson (GBr)

41. Ludovic Gadois (Fra)

42. Rudy Unrau (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Racing

43. Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze) Suzuki-RB

44. Adrian Hanko (Ger) Solid Aclass Factory Team

45. Romain Saladini (Fra) Team Sunn

46. Dominik Gspan (Sui)

Qualifying

Women

1. Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS

2. Mio Suemasa (Jpn) MS-Intense Factory-Racing

3. Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team

4. Jana Horakova (Cze) Suzuki-Rb

5. Romana Labounkova (Cze)

6. Rachel Seydoux (Sui)

7. Anita Molcik (Aut) 4 Elements Yeti

8. Sarsha Huntington (Aus)

9. Joanna Petterson (Rsa)

10. Steffi Marth (Ger)

11. Angelika Hohenwarter (Aut)

12. Diana Marggraff (Ecu)

13. Eva Castro Fernandez (Esp)

14. Anneke Beerten (Ned) MS-Intense Factory-Racing

15. Elisa Canepa (Ita) Playbiker – Iron Horse

16. Charlie Phillips (GBr)

Men

1. Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Racing

2. Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal

3. Jurg Meijer (Ned)

4. Michal Prokop (Cze)

5. R Alvarez De Lara Luca (Esp)

6. Mickael Deldycke (Fra)

7. Joost Wichman (Ned) Cannondale Factory Racing

8. Cédric Gracia (Fra) Commencal – Furious – Oak

9. Scott Beaumont (GBr) Rocky Mountain Uk

10. Filip Polc (Svk) Kenda Tomac

11. Guido Tschugg (Ger)

12. Ross Milan (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Racing

13. Thomas Schäfer (Ger)

14. Tomas Slavik (Cze)

15. Lewis Lacey (GBr)

16. Will Longden (GBr) Team Bike Radar

17. Kyle Strait (USA) Specialized Factory Racing

18. Sascha Meyenborg (Ger)

19. Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Team Ghost International

20. Frans Sjoblom (Swe)

20. Joey Van Veghel (Ned)

22. Lars Sternberg (USA)

23. Duncan Ferris (GBr)

24. Michael Robert Haderer (USA)

25. Patric Campbell-Jenner (GBr)

26. Lee White (GBr)

26. Randal Huntington (Aus)

28. Rhys Willemse (Aus) Tomac Factory Racing

29. James Norton (GBr)

30. Bernard Kerr (GBr)

31. Matthew Simmonds (GBr) Chain Reaction Cycle

32. Adrian Weiss (Sui) Tomac Factory Racing

33. Daniel Auerswald (Ger) Ixs Sports Division Racing

34. Martin Ogden (GBr)

35. William Evans (GBr)

36. Dave Richardson (GBr)

37. Adrian Kiener (Sui)

38. Nicolas Gspan (Sui)

39. Mitchell Scarr (Aus)

40. James Wilson (GBr)

41. Ludovic Gadois (Fra)

42. Rudy Unrau (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Racing

43. Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze) Suzuki-Rb

44. Adrian Hanko (Ger) Solid Aclass Factory Team

45. Romain Saladini (Fra) Team Sunn

46. Dominik Gspan (Sui)