and enjoy the benefits
Monday, 4 July 2011
Victory to Graves at Mont-Saint-Anne
sets up third World Cup title
Toowoomba’s Jared Graves has all but secured his third straight UCI World Cup four cross crown, with another impressive victory in round 4 of the 2011 series in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec on the weekend.
Riding for Yeti Fox Shox, the 28-year-old held a significant lead by the first corner in the final, and further extended the gap on the way to the finish line for a comfortable win.
Fort William round victor Roger Rinderknecht (SWI) finished second, followed by Guido Tschugg (GER) and Joost Wichman (NED).
Graves’ task was made significantly easier after world champion Thomas Slavik crashed out in qualifying and second-ranked David Graf of Switzerland also failed to make the racing heats.
"I actually felt pretty tired at the start of practice," said Graves, "but every round I got better, and I ended the day in my semi and final with two solid runs down the hill. So I'm pumped to get the win after last year (when he lost the world championships here)."
With one four cross round still remaining in Val di Sole, Italy, Graves holds an unbeatable lead in the overall UCI World Cup standings. Even if he does not start the final event and Rinderknecht wins, the pair will be tied on points at 425. However, in the tie-breaker, Graves would reign holding three wins to Rinderknecht's two victories.
Graeme Mudd was the only other Australian rider in the men’s four cross field in Mont-Saint-Anne, placed 14th.
Anneke Beerten (Milka-Trek) was too strong in the women’s four cross event, easily defeating the small seven-rider field. The Dutch rider also has her hand on her fourth World Cup crown with an unbeatable advantage in the overall standings.
In the downhill, junior rider Troy Brosnan’s stellar season has continued with a fifth place in the elite men’s event, his run only six seconds slower than winner and series leader Aaron Gwin (USA) who clocked 4:31.77.
The second last rider to come down the mountain, Gwin’s swift time relegated Great Britain’s Josh Bryceland (-0.46s) and New Zealand’s Brook Macdonald (-0.51s) to second and third position.
All eyes were on fastest qualifier Greg Minnaar, however disaster struck the South African mid way down the run, when he hit a rock and crashed. Minnaar eventually rolling over the finish line to place 18th.
Australians Shaun O’Connor (16th, +10.45s) and Michael Hannah (17th, +10.57s) also finished within the top 20, whilst Connor Fearon (+20s) placed 50th.
Brosnan, the 2010 junior world champion, leads the overall junior World Cup standings with 314 points.
The fourth round of the men's elite cross country was dominated by Czech rider Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized), who crossed the line nearly two minutes ahead of the rest.
The majority of the field encountered trouble on the infamous ‘Beatrice’ rock garden descent, but Swiss rider Nino Schurter (1:42) and world champion Jose Hermida (1:54) managed to survive and take the remaining spots on the podium.
Lachlan Norris (- 2 laps), Joshua Carlson (-2 laps) and Sid Taberlay (-3 laps) flew the flag for Australia in the elite men’s event, and Mitch Codner (-2 laps) in the under 23 race.
Catharine Pendrel gave her home crowd reason to cheer with victory in the women’s elite cross country. Australian champion Katherine O’Shea (-1lap) placed 39th.
The cross country and downhill riders return to action this weekend (July 9 &10) for the Windham (USA) stage of the 2011 UCI World Cup.