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World Cup 4-cross crowns awarded in Austria

The first mountain bike World Cup titles of 2008 were awarded Friday in Schladming, Austria, with 4-cross world champion Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas (Specialized) taking his first title and Anneke Beerten (MS Intense) her second. Romain Saladini (Team Sunn) won the men's final, while Czech rider Romana Labounkova took her first-ever win in the women's race.

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By Rob Jones

Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas (Specialized) takes his first World Cup 4-cross title.

Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas (Specialized) takes his first World Cup 4-cross title.

Photo: Rob Jones

The first mountain bike World Cup titles of 2008 were awarded Friday in Schladming, Austria, with 4-cross world champion Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas (Specialized) taking his first title and Anneke Beerten (MS Intense) her second.

Romain Saladini (Team Sunn) won the men’s final, while Czech rider Romana Labounkova took her first-ever win in the women’s race.

After a sunny afternoon got everyone’s hopes up, the rain moved in, just in time for the 4-cross finals. Starting as a drizzle, it became a steady downpour, backed off for the semi-finals, then returned with a vengeance for the finals. Adding to the discontent was the drastically reduced length of the course — only one-third the length of last year’s circuit — due to construction on the ski hill.

The quarter-final round proved to be the critical one for the men. Among the riders knocked out of contention were Alvarez, second-ranked Guido Tschugg (Fusion) and Cedric Gracia (Commencal-Oakley). With both Alvarez and Tschugg out in the same round, the overall standings were done — Alvarez would win over Tschugg.

Dan Atherton (Animal Commencal) took second behind Saladini in the final run, moving into third in the final overall standings, just ahead of Gracia, with Saladini moving ahead of the absent Jared Graves (Yeti) to take the fifth and final podium spot.

The men’s final was delayed for nearly 20 minutes while Roger Rinderknecht (GT) argued that Saladini should be disqualified from the final for cutting a corner (which showed up on video replay). However, the officials stuck firm with their decision not to disqualify Saladini.

“It’s a good result for me,” said Atherton, who is coming back from a broken collarbone suffered at the worlds. “I got a bit of a bad start, but was able to get around to the front after the second corner. Unfortunately, Saladini just had a little more speed and was able to overtake me again before the finish.”

The women’s race saw two top riders knocked out in the first round. Anita Molcik (4 Elements-Yeti) crashed, and Mio Suemasa (MS Intense) got caught in traffic. Fionn Griffiths (Norco Factory) went out in the semi-final, but took the consolation race to claim the fifth spot on the podium. After that, it came down to a race between Labounkova and Beerten, with the Czech rider able to take advantage of the short course and her superior speed out of the gate to win. Jana Horakova (Czech Republic) took third.

Beerten was extremely pleased with her title, especially after losing the world title in June by crashing while in the lead.

“Not winning the worlds, when I was so favored, still upsets me a lot, but it also makes me appreciate each and every win even more,” she said.

Results

Final overall, World Cup 4-cross

Women
1. Anneke Beerten (Ned), MS-Intense Factory-Racing, 1230pts
2. Anita Molcik (Aut), 4 Elements Yeti-Hotec-RSP, 540
3. Mio Suemasa (Jpn), MS-Intense Factory-Racing, 480
4. Fionn Griffiths (GBr), Norco World Team, 460
5. Melissa Buhl (USA), 420
6. Caroline Buchanan (Aus), 370
7. Jana Horakova (Cze), Suzuki-RB ,350
8. Romana Labounkova (Cze), 310
9. Angelika Hohenwarter (Aut), 160
10. Rachel Seydoux (Sui), 150
11. Julia Boer (Hun), 100
12. Lucia Oetjen (Sui), 100
13. Diana Marggraff (Ecu), 90
14. Eva Castro Fernandez (Esp), 60
15. Helene Valerie Fruhwirth (Aut), 50
16. Katarina Tothova (Cze), 40
17. Emmeline Ragot (Fra), Suspension Center, 20
18. Neven Steinmetz (USA), 20
19. Sarsha Huntington (Aus), 20

Men
1. Rafael Alvarez de lara Lucas (Esp), Specialized, 895pts
2. Guido Tschugg (Ger), Fusion, 830
3. Dan Atherton (GBr), Animal Commencal, 755
4. Cédric Gracia (Fra), Commencal-Furious-Oakley Team, 610
5. Romain Saladini (Fra), Team Sunn, 590
6. Jared Graves (Aus), Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team, 500
7. Joost Wichman (Ned), Cannondale Factory Racing, 465
8. Johannes Fischbach (Ger), Team Ghost International, 445
9. Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze), Suzuki-RB, 395
10. Filip Polc (Svk), Kenda Tomac, 210
11. Tomas Slavik (Cze), 205
12. Brian Lopes (USA), 200
13. Sam Willoughby (Aus), 200
14. Jurg Meijer (Ned), 185
15. Luke Madill (Aus), 150
16. Rastislav Pirman (Svk), 4 Elements Yeti-Hotec-RSP, 120
17. Jakub Hnidak (Cze), 120
18. Thomas Hubert (Aus), 120
19. Michal Prokop (Cze), 120
20. Mickael Deldycke (Fra), 120
21. Roger Rinderknecht (Sui), 100
22. Leigh Darrell (Aus), 100
23. John Swanguen (USA), MS-Intense Factory-Racing, 80
24. Sascha Meyenborg (Ger), 75
25. Scott Beaumont (Gbr), Rocky Mountain UK, 75
26. Ross Milan (USA), Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team, 70
27. Aurélien Giordanengo (Fra), 60
28. Will Longden (GBr), Team Bike Radar, 55
29. Quentin Derbier (Fra), 50
30. Fabien Cousinie (Fra), 35
31. Tomas Haluza (Cze), 35
32. Dave Wardell (GBr), 30
33. Thomas Tokarczyk (USA), 30
34. Georg Sieder (Aut), Solid AClass Factory Team, 30
35. Terrence Scarr (Aus), 30
36. Sidney Gerber (Sui), 25
37. Tim Dunn (Aus), 25
38. Joey Van Veghel (Ned), 20
39. Dominik Gspan (Sui), 20
40. Matej Vitko (Svk), 15
41. William Evans (GBr), 15
42. Ludovic Gadois (Fra), 15
43. Hans Lambert (Can), Norco World Team, 15
44. Lewis Lacey (GBr), 10
45. Erik Nelson (USA), 10
46. Michael Garcia (Ned), 10
47. David Graf (Sui), 10
48. Thomas Twentyman (Aus), 10
49. Miroslav Jirka (Cze), 10
50. Cody Eichhorn (Aus), 5
51. Lukas Mechura (Cze), Chain Reaction Cycles-Intense, 5
52. Adrian Weiss (Sui), Tomac Factory Racing, 5
53. Lukasz Baran (Pol), 5
54. Frans Sjoblom (Swe), 5
55. Livio Zampieri (Ita), 5
.