Rinderknecht prevails in final

Graf, Slavik podium

Once again, Fort William, Scotland, provided some of the most exciting racing of the season, with a new winner for this second round of the four cross World Cup. At the 10th anniversary event for Fort William, Roger Rinderknecht was the surprise winner of a crash-filled men's final.

The men's race looked to be a replay of what we have seen over and over again: Graves jumping away from his rivals out of the start gate and cruising to the finish line. In the first three rounds, this was exactly how it went, with the Australian riding everyone off his wheel. In the first two rounds, all of the top riders made it through safely, with the exception of Guido Tschugg (Ghost), who was caught out in the eighth-final by the passing skills of the young British rider Scott Roberts, and Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lucas, the former world champion returning from injury. Alvarrez de Lara was a victim of the most amazing pass of the evening by Michal Marosi (RSP 4 Cross), who literally jumped the rock garden to pass him mid-air.

Marosi, Johannes Fischbach (Ghost) and Kamil Tatarkovic all got knocked out in the quarter-final round, leaving Graves to go up against Rinderknecht, world champion Thomas Slavik (RSP 4 Cross) and Romain Saladini in one semi-final, and David Graf, Joost Wichman (RSP 4 Cross), Michal Prokop and Michael Mechura (Chain Reaction/Nukeproof) in the other.

In a stunning surprise, Graves was beaten to the holeshot for the first corner by Savik, and then dropped to last after taking the second corner wide, allowing Rinderknecht and Saladini by him. Despite fighting back, Graves could only manage to recover to third, putting him into the small final, which he easily won for fifth place overall.

Prokop and Wichman were well in front battling for the lead just before the final corner of their semi, when they crashed into each other, allowing Graf to squeeze through for the first spot in the final. Wichman managed to grab his bike first and scramble to the line ahead of Prokop for the second spot.

The men's final saw further crash action. Wichman took the lead, and appeared to be well in control, ahead of Rinderknecht and Slavik as he entered the rock garden. However, he hit the bottom of the rock garden front wheel first, somersaulting over the bars. Even worse, his bike shot sideways across the course, behind Rinderknecht but in front of his teammate Slavik, taking the world champion out as well.

Rinderknecht easily cruised in for the win, followed by a disbelieving Graf, while the two RSP riders slowly picked themselves up and limped across the line.

"It feels amazing, to win here," said Rinderknecht. "My last win, last year in Val di Sole [Italy] was totally different. I won qualifying, and went into the race as one of the favourites. This time, I had a bad crash in practice and hurt my foot pretty bad, so I took it easy in qualifying and only qualified 16th. I really didn't know what to expect. I tried to black it out [his foot], the pain, and not think about it. But it worked out. Joost got a little bit unlucky at the end with a crash when he was leading, but luck was on my side this time. I'm really stoked."

Despite finishing fifth, Graves still leads the men's World Cup standings, with 175 points, followed by Rinderknecht and Graf tied at 150, and Prokop a further 10 points back.

Full Results

Elite Men - Big Final
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Roger Rinderknecht (Swi)125 pts
2David Graf (Swi)100 
3Tomas Slavik (Cze) Rsp 4 Cross Racing Team75 
4Joost Wichman (Ned) Rsp 4 Cross Racing Team60 
Elite Men - Small Final
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
5Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team50 pts
6Michal Prokop (Cze)40 
7Michael Mechura (Cze) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof30 
8Romain Saladini (Fra)25 
Elite Men - 1/4 Finals
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
9Daniel Prijkel (Ned) Team Merida Combee20 pts
10Milan Mysik (Cze)17 
11Scott Roberts (GBr)14 
12Michal Marosi (Cze) Rsp 4 Cross Racing Team11 
13Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team8 
14Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)6 
15Lukas Mechura (Cze) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof4 
16Graeme Mudd (Aus)2 
Elite Men - 1/8 Finals
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
17Guido Tschugg (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team  
18Rafael Alvarez De Lara Lucas (Spa)  
19Jakub Riha (Cze)  
20Petrik Brückner (Ger)  
21Quentin Derbier (Fra)  
22Jakub Hnidak (Cze)  
23Patrick Campbell-Jenner (GBr)  
24Oliver Fuhrmann (Ger)  
25Pascal Seydoux (Swi)  
26Javier Guijarro Villacieros (Spa)  
27Premek Tejchman (Cze)  
28Blake Carney (USA)  
29Jake Ward (GBr)  
30Lear Miller (USA)  
31Scott Beaumont (GBr)  
32Will Longden (GBr)  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1RSP 4 Cross Racing Team65 pts
2Milka Trek MTB Racing Team40 
3Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof24 
4Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team22 
5Team Morzine - Avoriaz / Haute - Savoie20 
6Team Merida Combee14 
7Ghost Factory Racing Team8 
Elite Men World Cup standings after 2 rounds
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team175 pts
2Roger Rinderknecht (Swi)150 
3David Graf (Swi)150 
4Michal Prokop (Cze)140 
5Joost Wichman (Ned) Rsp 4 Cross Racing Team90 
6Tomas Slavik (Cze) Rsp 4 Cross Racing Team83 
7Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team83 
8Michal Marosi (Cze) Rsp 4 Cross Racing Team71 
9Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)46 
10Michael Mechura (Cze) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof30 
11Romain Saladini (Fra)25 
12Scott Roberts (GBr)25 
13Daniel Prijkel (Ned) Team Merida Combee20 
14Guido Tschugg (Ger) Ghost Factory Racing Team20 
15Milan Mysik (Cze)17 
16Scott Beaumont (GBr)17 
17Quentin Derbier (Fra)14 
18Graeme Mudd (Aus)8 
19Lukas Mechura (Cze) Chain Reaction Cycles / Nukeproof8 
20Jordan O'keeffe (RSA)2 
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