By Rob Jones, Cyclingnews.com
Saturday, September 1, 2012 4.29pm
Beats Mechura and Graf in big final
Rinderknecht and Mechura missed the crash at the start of the Big Final Rob Jones/Cyclingnews.com
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Switzerland's Roger Rinderknecht won his first world title in the final race of his career on Saturday, in the men's four cross.
The crowd favourite four cross did not disappoint the thousands of fans who lined the course. It was clear early on that the men's race was between the Swiss and the Czech riders. The two nations split the top four spots in qualifying, and dominated the heats on the way to the final. Rinderknecht was joined by countryman David Graf for the final, with Czech team mates Tomas Slavik and Michael Mechura taking the other two spots.
On paper, it should have been Graf who won, after qualifying first and winning every one of his heats; including beating Rinderknecht in the semi-final. However, Graf tangled with Slavik just after the start gate, when the Czech rider moved out of his lane, causing both riders to crash. Rinderknecht took the lead from Mechura out of the first corner, fought off an attack after the second corner and then rode clear to take the title. Mechura took silver, with Slavik the first to get up from the crash and grabbed bronze.
"This is the last race I am ever going to do in my career, so I really wanted it to be a special night," commented Rinderknecht. "I felt good all night. Didn't have the best legs ever, but I felt it was coming together. It worked out on the end. The other two guys unfortunately came together on the first straight, so it wasn't the battle to the line, but nevertheless I am extremely happy."
"I really cannot believe it. I really did not expect to do that good in the beginning. I knew I was in good shape, but I wasn't sure what to expect from my bike handling point of view. But I felt comfortable right away from the first practice, so I knew if everything went perfect it could be my night."