Schladming, Austria was the site for the final World Cup round of 2009, with several season-long battles boiling to a head over the weekend.
Australian Sam Hill (Monster Energy/Specialized/Mad Catz) locked up the 2009 downhill title with a victory over New Zealander Sam Blenkinsop (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team) on Sunday.
Hill’s 1,469 points topped second-placed Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) by just 120 points at season’s end.
New world downhill champion Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) finished seventh in Austria, and third overall in the World Cup standings with 1,258 points.
Great Britain’s Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) won the women’s elite downhill race in Austria, as France’s Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) wrapped up overall victory with 1,767 World Cup points.
Moseley’s winning run took 4:54.73, narrowly beating French racer Floriane Pugin’s (Iron Horse-Kenda-Playbiker) 4:55.57.
José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team) bracketed the 2009 World Cup, winning the first round and the last. The win moved him from fourth to second in the overall standings behind Julien Absalon (Orbea).
Absalon locked up the World Cup title a week earlier. However, seven riders were battling for the next four places on the podium, and it was Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida) who took control. He moved from fourth to second in the final World Cup standings with a strong win in Schladming.
Spanish compatriot Ruben Ruzafa Cueto (Orbea) took second for his first World Cup podium, followed by Trek’s Mathias Flückiger, the first U23 rider.
Absalon, after racing in the front three for most of the six-lap race, retired after a flat just before the start of the final lap. Adam Craig (Giant) was the top North American in 21st, two spots ahead of Canada’s Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain).
Elisabeth ‘Lisi’ Osl gave the Austrian crowd what they had hoped for: a home win and the World Cup title at the eighth and final round in Schladming, Austria. Osl took her third World Cup win of the season after an impressive start to finish ride on the front.
Lene Byberg (Specialized) confirmed her second place overall by catching Canada’s Catharine Pendrel (Luna) on the final climb to take second, while Pendrel hung on for third in both the race and the overall standings.
Lea Davison (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) was the top US finisher in 12th, two spots ahead of Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven). Emily Batty (Team Canada) finished 25th, and took second overall in the U23 final World Cup standings behind world champion Aleksandra Dawidowicz (CCC Polkowice).
World Cup champion Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox) confirmed his four-cross World Cup title under the lights of the Planai ski slope in Schladming on Saturday night.
The men’s series had already been won by Graves, the new world champion, but he wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to finish the season on a winning note. The Australian was untouchable, easily winning his heats in every round, often by huge margins.
In the final, it came down to Graves, Romain Saladini (Team Sunn), Johannes Fishbach (Ghost ATG) and Dutchman Joost Wichman. Wichman ran into trouble at the top of the course, putting him out of contention, and the young Frenchman Saladini was able to hold off Fishbach for second behind Graves.
World Cup champion Anneke Beerten (Suspension Centre) confirmed her four-cross World Cup title on Saturday night. Unlike the men’s series, there were still three riders in contention for the overall win – Beerten, Briton Fionn Griffiths (Norco) and American Jill Kintner.
Griffiths crashed the day before at qualifying and could not race, while Kintner crashed in her first round heat and did not finish. Therefore, Beerten had won her third consecutive title without even racing.
Despite that, the women’s race saw its own action, with Beerten only scrapping through the semi-final round in second place after a serious challenge from Czech rider Romana Labounkova.
In the final, up against Austrian favourite Anita Molcik (Yeti Fox Shox), British newcomer Katy Curd and Japan’s Mio Suemasa, Beerten left nothing to chance, grabbing the holeshot and riding it to her third win of the season.