The Jeep® King of the Mountain Series go a boost when Michal Prokop won and Jill Kintner defended the Four Cross World Championships. The couple's success means the KOM series will have two world champs racing in their finale, scheduled for Sept. 3 in Beaver Creek, Colo.
The series also announced this week that it will be replacing injured Wade Bootes (who broke a collarbone at Worlds) with Swiss racer Roger Rinderknecht.
Heading into the grand finale, Prokop stands in first place in the Jeep King of the Mountain Series, having swept the first two races to go along with his World Cup Championship, European Championship and National Championship in 2006. Trailing him and tied for second place are Brian Lopes of San Clemente, Calif., a three-time World Champion, five-time World Cup Champion and nine-time National Champion and Eric Carter of Temecula, Calif., the 2005 and 2006 USA Cycling Mountain-Cross National Champion.
Also in the hunt are former World Champion Mike King of San Diego, and Brian Schmith of Lancaster, Calif., a NORBA Nationals and World Cup medalist. Two additional open qualifiers will look to play spoiler in the competition, including Jared Rando of Australia, a NORBA mountain-cross champion and Australian Dual Champion and Chris DelBosco of Vail, Colo., who this year won the Blast at the Mass in Snowmass, Colo.
In the women's competition, fellow defending Jeep King of the Mountain World Professional Champion Jill Kitner of Seattle, Wash., holds the top spot. The young standout has also won four of five World Cup titles this year, as well as the U.S. National Championship, BMX Australian National Championship and Australian Mountain Bike National Championship. Behind her, in a two-way tie for second place, sits Melissa Buhl of Chandler, Ariz., ranked fifth in the world and the 2005 NORBA Downhill Champion, and Corona, Calif.'s Tara Llanes, the 2006 USA Cycling Downhill National Champion who currently ranks third in the UCI World Cup standings.
Rounding out the standings are Katrina Miller of Australia, the 2004 JKOM World Professional Champion currently ranked second in the world, Fionn Griffiths of Great Britain, a three-time World Cup Champion and five-time UK National Champion, and Anneke Beerten of The Netherlands, the 2006 Sea Otter Classic runner-up and JKOM event titlists in 2005. Joining the women's roster as open qualifiers are Bobbi Kae Watt of Broomfield, Colo., a former Sea Otter Classic Champion and Mountain States Classic titlist, and Jessica Vogt of Boulder, Colo., who finished second overall in the 2006 NORBA Nationals Series and won the Downhill and Mountain Cross Collegiate National Championship in 2005.