MTB World Cup: Labounkova wins four-cross in Leogang

Buhl, Beerten round out top three women

Romana Labounkova, after missing the opening two rounds of the four-cross World Cup for BMX racing, proved her bronze medal at last year's World Championships was no fluke with her win at the third round in Leogang, Austria.

Cold temperatures and rain had no impact on the Czech rider, who qualified first and easily won her first two races to advance to the final, with American Melissa Buhl (KHS) also qualifying from the same half of the draw.

Anneke Beerten (Milka-Trek), the winner of the first two rounds and the World Cup leader, had a similarly easy path to the final after qualifying second. Swiss rider Lucia Oetjen was the final rider to make it to the medal race.

In the final, Labounkova used her BMX speed to take the holeshot into the first corner and rode away for the win. Buhl just beat out Beerten for the second spot into the first corner, and was able to hold off the Dutch rider through the rest of the 450-metre run to take second. Celine Gros (Morzine-Avoriaz/Haute-Savoie) took the fifth and final podium spot by winning the small final.

"I was just fast in the gate, and that was the biggest part of my success," said Labounkova. "After that, I just did a clean run, which was perfect. You have to be first into the first corner, and then you can ride your own race in these slippery conditions."

Beerten continues to lead the overall standings, with 250 points to Oetjen's 130. Gros sits in third, 10 points further back.

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