Graves and Beerten win South African 4x
4. Roger Rinderknecht
1. Anneke Beerten
2. Fionn Griffiths
4. Jana Horakova
Well what to say about the 4x tonight? The track looked kind of fun but it was long long long and fast fast fast. Without a great deal of tempo change overtaking was near impossible apart from a first corner move. Infact I don't think I saw anyone put a move on, the closest came with a Dan Atherton and Scott Beaumont tussle in heat 11.
The usual crew cruised through their heats with the exception of Tatarkovic and Madill who tangled at the first corner giving local lad Stow a moment of glory. Mens semi-final 1 saw Gracia crash out on the log section, (he's getting a bit bashed up these days). Fischman also crashed out of semi final 2 meaning Graves, Rinderknecht, Prokop and Alvarez went through to the big final.
Jared Graves got the snap and led from the start as he'd been doing all night and went on to take the first win of the season.
In the womens semi Jill Kintner looked to be cruising into the main in second spot when she tried a move up the inside of leader Jana Horakova. Kintner stalled and spun thowing away an easy entry to the final. She didn't look too happy with herself as she crossed the line.
Anneke Beerten won her semi and went on to look unstoppable in the final to take the win. Fionn Griffiths had a great ride to take second.
Here's the official version
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
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
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
Jared Graves and Anneke Beerten do the business in South Africa