Graves, Beerten Win 4X Titles in Pietermaritzburg

    Australia’s multi-discipline bicycle racing star, Jared Graves (Yeti Fox), finally ended his run of bad luck when the won the men’s 4X final at the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, presented by Shimano, sponsored by DCM Chrome in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday.

    The 26-year-old former world championship silver medallist had a smooth run through the rounds, winning his Round of 32, quarterfinal and semifinal on a course that’s one of the longest 4X tracks in the world. His fellow finalists, former two-time world champion, Czech Michael Prokop, Spain’s current world champion, Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas and Switzerland’s 2008 world championship silver medallist, Roger Rinderknecht, were all beaten on the way to the final.

    In the final, Graves, remembered most recently for his crash in the BMX final of the Beijing Games, got a super-quick start reaching the first corner in front. His line selection proved perfect as he began to open up a substantial lead after the halfway mark going on unchallenged with his smooth style to claim a dominant victory.

    Prokop edged out Alvarez de Lara Lucas (Specialized Factory Racing) to take second place with Rinderknecht coming home fourth.

    “Ah, man, it’s about time!” gasped a beaming Graves. “It’s been a really bad three years for me – from my broken wrist before the World Championships in 2006, and endless mechanicals, then the disappointment of the Beijing Games – but I get the feeling that the leaf has been turned over.

    “I started thinking that I was incapable of winning the big races. But now, after today, I am relieved. I’ve got my confidence back. The course was great. It really suited me – high-geared and flat-out. I like that kind of riding!”

    In the women’s category, Dutch star, Anneke Beerten  (Suspension Centre), lived up to her No. 1 world ranking by grabbing the win with a confident, victorious run through the rounds and a smooth, fast final.

    The reigning World Cup champion and former two-time BMX world champion, ousted Great Britain’s Fionn Griffiths (Norco World Team) for the top step of the podium with Czech riders Romana Labounkova and Jana Horakova rounding out the top four respectively.

    Nissan UCI World Cup, presented by Shimano, sponsored by DCM Chrome
    Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
    4X, Saturday 11 April 2009
    Leading results
    Men
    1 Jared Grave AUS
    2 Michal Prokop CZE
    3 Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas ESP
    4 Roger Rinderknecht SUI
    5 Romain Saladini FRA
    6 Cedric Gracia FRA
    7 Scott Beaumont GBR
    8 Johannes Fischbach GER

    Women
    1 Anneke Beerten NED
    2 Fionn Griffiths GBR
    3 Romana Labounkova CZE
    4 Jana Horakova CZE
    5 Jill Kintner USA
    6 Emmeline Ragot FRA
    7 Melissa Buhl USA
    8 Helene Valerie Fruhwirth AUT

    For full results, visit www.uci.ch

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Australia’s Luke Madill (left) and Czech Republic’s Kamil Tatarkovic touched handlebars and took a tumble in the Round of 32 of the men’s 4X event at the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, sponsored by DCM Chrome in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Saturday.Photo credit: SVEN MARTIN

    Anneke Beerten got through the first corner in front and went on to win the women’s 4X event at the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, sponsored by DCM Chrome in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Saturday.Photo credit: SVEN MARTIN

    Eventual winner, Australia’s Jared Graves on his way to victory in the semi-final of the men’s 4X event at the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, sponsored by DCM Chrome in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Saturday.Photo credit: GARY PERKIN

     

     

     

     

     

    Eventual winner, Australia’s Jared Graves on his way to victory in the semi-final of the men’s 4X event at the Nissan UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, sponsored by DCM Chrome in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Saturday.Photo credit: GARY PERKIN