By Rob Jones, Cyclingnews.com
Monday, June 8, 2009 9.35am
Kintner takes control in women's race
Jared Graves, Lukas Mechura and Johannes Fischbach in the quarter-finals Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Jared Graves took the win at round four of the men's 4-Cross World Cup in Fort William, Scotland after all the other top-eight qualifiers were knocked out before the medal final, mostly victims of poor starts and few passing opportunities after the first corner.
After a third in the previous round broke his winning streak, Graves made it clear that it wasn't going to happen again in Fort William, where he was the defending champion.
The Australian won all of his heats convincingly, and left nothing to chance in the final, leading out of the first straight and easily holding off Romain Saladini (Team Sunn) in the final.
"Graves is still too strong for me, especially in the first straight," said Saladini. "But I'm happy to finally make the finals for the first time this season."
Graves had qualified third, behind round three winner Joost Wichman (Netherlands) and Roger Rinderknecht (GT Bicycles). Wichman was knocked out in the quarter-finals and Rinderknecht in the semi-finals.
Joost Wichman out in front in the 4X quarter-finals at Fort William
Lukas Mechura (Chain Reaction/Intense) and Jurg Meijer (Netherlands) were the other riders to make the final, finishing third and fourth respectively, while former world champion Michael Prokop (Czech Republic) took the fifth podium spot after winning the consolation race.
"I'm really, really happy to win here, to be back at the top after losing out in Vallnord [round three]," said Graves. "For me, Fort William is the best World Cup of the series, and to win here for the second year in a row is pretty special."
Graves now holds a commanding lead in the World Cup series standings, with 450 points to second placed Saladini's 240, who is just five points ahead of Rinderknecht.
Jared Graves topped the podium in the men's 4X race
Round four saw a familiar face back on the top of the podium, as Jill Kintner (Red Bull-Oakley) won before a large crowd.
As in the men's race, many top favourites exited early, as the redesigned track gave few options for passing. World Cup leader Anneke Beerten (Suspension Center) went out in the semi-final round, missing the final for the first time this season.
Beerten won the consolation race, taking the fifth and final spot on the podium, but it wasn't enough to save her World Cup jersey, as Kintner grabbed it with her second win of the season.
"I really wanted to win here," said Kintner. "For me, this is a special course, because I won the world title here [in 2007]."
Anneke Beerten leads Jana Horakova and Anita Molcik
Kintner, Caroline Buchanan (Australia), round three winner Fionn Griffiths (Norco World Team) and world champion Melissa Buhl (KHS) made it to the final four, with Kintner easily taking the gate and cruising to the win ahead of Buchanan and Griffiths.
The win gave Kintner 270 points to Beerten's 255 in the World Cup standings, with Griffiths the only other rider to crack 200 points at 225.
"I just didn't have enough power in the first straightaway," said Beerten. "I prefer it when the tracks are way steeper and more technical. It's too bad to lose the jersey, but there is still half a season to go, so it isn't over."
Jill Kintner won the women's 4X in front of a large crowd