The world's elite mountain-bikers ended the UCI World Cup season in Scladming, Austria last weekend, settling overall series championship titles in Cross Country, Downhill and Four Cross.
Marie Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain / Business Objects) was able to outpace four-time world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Multivan-Merida) to win the final world cup cross country race for 2006. The two riders has been locked in a tense battle for the virtually the entire race, Dahle leading Premont by no more than a few seconds. Premont's success didn't change the World Cup overall though as Dahle-Flesjaa took the overall.
In men's cross-country, Cristoph Sauser (Specialized) who finished second to Julien Absalon (Bianchi) at the World Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand, was at the head of the race from start to finish. Sauser's win secured his second place in the World Cup series behind world champion Absalon.
With recently-crowned world champion Jill Kintner (GT - who had already sealed the World Cup overall on points) out of competition due to a crash at the Jeep King of the Mountain finale, Fiona Griffiths of Great Britain got a chance to take the Four-Cross competition, beating American Tara Llanes and Joey Gough in the women’s race.
Czech Republic’s Kamil Tartarkovic was a deserved winner of the men’s 4X on a tricky course which saw countless tumbles and a large crowd enjoying the action. Holding off a close challenge from Dutchman Joost Wichman (Netherlands) and local hero Rudiger Jahnel (Austria).
Sunday turned into a day for world champions to strut their stuff as Frenchwoman Sabrina Jonnier took out the women;s race and Sam Hill the men's
Jonnier, who won a rainbow jersey in New Zealand two weeks ago was obviously at the top of her game, looking calm to finish just 0.41 seconds ahead of Emmeline Ragot. Hill (Australia) beat Nathan Rennie and Greg Minaar by five seconds to win the World Cup finale in Schladming on Sunday.
For complete results, race reports and photos, follow the links below: