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World Champion Graves cruises to win

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Australia's Jared Graves leading in final.

Australia's Jared Graves leading in final.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The trail on the left side is a very steep section of the cross country course. Many riders have crashed on this descent.

The trail on the left side is a very steep section of the cross country course. Many riders have crashed on this descent.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Tomas Slavik (6), Roger Rinderknecht (3), Scott Beaumont (15) Joost Wichman (2) (from left to right)

Tomas Slavik (6), Roger Rinderknecht (3), Scott Beaumont (15) Joost Wichman (2) (from left to right)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Johannes Fischbach (8) and Michal Prokop (4)

Johannes Fischbach (8) and Michal Prokop (4)
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Roger Rinderknecht, Tomas Slavik and Hannes Slavik.

Roger Rinderknecht, Tomas Slavik and Hannes Slavik.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Roger Rinderknecht leads Martin Söderström and Jurg Meijer

Roger Rinderknecht leads Martin Söderström and Jurg Meijer
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Joost Wichman and Lukas Mechura.

Joost Wichman and Lukas Mechura.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Johannes Fischbach and David Graf.

Johannes Fischbach and David Graf.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Ready to start the first run.

Ready to start the first run.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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World Cup leaders: Jared Graves and Jana Horakova.

World Cup leaders: Jared Graves and Jana Horakova.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Men's podium: Roger Rinderknecht, Tomas Slavik,Jared Graves, Michael Prokop and Joost Wichman.

Men's podium: Roger Rinderknecht, Tomas Slavik,Jared Graves, Michael Prokop and Joost Wichman.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Joost Wichman leads his new team through a training run.

Joost Wichman leads his new team through a training run.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The four cross course as viewed from atop a high ridge in the Ardennes

The four cross course as viewed from atop a high ridge in the Ardennes
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox), the current World Champion, 2009 World Cup champion and defending Houffalize champion easily repeated to take the win in the first round of the 2010 four cross World Cup.  The victory also gave him the lead in the men's series.

The Houffalize World Cup is run at night, under lights, with fans pouring into the small Ardennes village to hang out course side, drink the local Chouffe beer, and eat frites.

The spectators are there to cheer any daring pass, and, of course, the inevitable crashes. The race course was almost unchanged from last season. However, dry weather had turned the track into a dust bowl, with the final rider of any foursome almost completely obscured by billowing dust. Loose gravel made every corner treacherous, and there were multiple crashes.

"On those first two turns you had to be careful," said Graves, "because anything could happen there. A good start definitely helps on this course, but you still aren't completely safe, because there are plenty of spots to get passed. It is definitely good to start the season off with a win, because it takes the pressure off, so I'm pretty happy right now."

Graves was untouchable in the men's heats, often three or four bike lengths clear of his competitors by the first corner. He was joined in the final by Tomas Slavik (RSP 4 Cross Racing), Michal Prokop (Agang Racing) and Dutch mainstay Roger Rinderknecht. Once again, Graves got the holeshot, with the two Czech riders Slavik and Prokop bumping elbows through the first couple of corners before Slavik finally pulled ahead in the lower half of the run for second place.

Full Results

Big Final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team
2Tomas Slavik (Cze) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team
3Michal Prokop (Cze) Agang Racing
4Roger Rinderknecht (Swi)

Small Final
#Rider Name (Country) Team
5Joost Wichman (Ned) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team
6Scott Beaumont (GBr) Rocky Mountain Uk
7Dan Atherton (GBr) Commencal
8Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team

1/4 Finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
9Mickael Deldycke (Fra)
10Sidney Gerber (Swi)
11Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)
12Clément Doby (Fra)
13Petr Muhlhans (Cze)
14Michal Marosi (Cze) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team
15Hannes Slavik (Aut) RC Alpine Commencal Austria
16Marek Pesko (Svk)

1/8 Finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
17David Graf (Swi)
18Premek Tejchman (Cze)
19Adam Stasek (Cze)
20Jurg Meijer (Ned) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team
21Petrik Brückner (Ger)
22Nico Vink (Bel)
23Kristof Lenssens (Bel)
24Florian Gottschlich (Ger)
25Filip Polc (Svk) MS Evil Racing
26Lukas Mechura (Cze)
27Martin Söderström (Swe)
28Pascal Seydoux (Swi)
29Stepan Novotny (Cze)
30Lukasz Baran (Pol)
31Aiko Göhler (Ger)
32Jan Novak (Cze)

1/16 Finals
#Rider Name (Country) Team
33Jakub Riha (Cze)
34Jakub Hnidak (Cze)
35Matthieu Faury (Fra)
36Nico Seidel (Ger)
37Daniel Prijkel (Ned)
38Jake Ward (GBr)
39Jakub Pytlik (Cze)
40Benoit Bresset (Fra)
41Stephen Simms (GBr)
42Bernard Kerr (GBr) Norco World Team
43Duncan Ferris (GBr)
44Benoît Quaegebeur (Fra)
45Kieran Mcavoy (GBr)
46Richard Norton (GBr)
47Will Longden (GBr)
48Laurent Georges (Bel)
49Johnny Magis (Bel)
50Scott Roberts (GBr)
51Patrick Campbell-Jenner (GBr)
52William Evans (GBr)
53Renato Rufener (Swi)
54Maximilian Wrstala (Ger)
55Felix Beckeman (Swe)
56Benjamin Kistner (Sui)
57Jeremy Morland (Fra)
58Ziga Knez (Slo) Unior Tools Team
59Werner Muther (Swi) Thoemus Racing Team
60Ludovic Gadois (Fra)
61Dominik Gladen (Ger)
62Ghislain Ricci (Fra)
63Stefan Scherz (Ger)
64Joey Van Veghel (Ned)

Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1RSP 4 Cross Racing Team64pts
2Suspension Center45
3Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team40
4Agang Racing30
5Rocky Mountain UK20
6Commencal18
7Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team16
8RC Alpine Commencal Austria6
92Stage Factory5
10Thoemus Racing Team3

World Cup standings for Individuals after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team125pts
2Tomas Slavik (Cze) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team100
3Michal Prokop (Cze) Agang Racing75
4Roger Rinderknecht (Swi)60
5Joost Wichman (Ned) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team50
6Scott Beaumont (GBr) Rocky Mountain UK40
7Dan Atherton (GBr) Commencal30
8Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team25
9Mickael Deldycke (Fra)20
10Sidney Gerber (Swi)17
11Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)14
12Clément Doby (Fra)11
13Petr Muhlhans (Cze)8
14Michal Marosi (Cze) RSP 4 Cross Racing Team6
15Hannes Slavik (Aut) RC Alpine Commencal Austria4
16Marek Pesko (Svk)2

World Cup standings for Teams after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1RSP 4 Cross Racing Team64pts
2Suspension Center45
3Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team40
4Agang Racing30
5Rocky Mountain UK20
6Commencal18
7Ghost A.T.G. Pro Team16
8RC Alpine Commencal Austria6
92Stage Factory5
10Thoemus Racing Team3

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