Round five of the 4-Cross Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia saw some of the most aggressive and exciting racing of the year, under the most adverse conditions. World Cup leader Jill Kintner (Red Bull/Intense/Crankbrothers) held onto her leader's jerseys, but saw her winning streak broken, with Caroline Buchanan of Australia taking her first World Cup win in the women's race.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms overnight and in the morning had caused the cancellation of Downhill qualifying (the gondolas had to be shut down), and left the 4-Cross track a muddy, slippery mess. Almost all riders resorted to spiked tires, and there were still crashes in every round of competition.
Kintner, Buchanan and round one winner Anneke Beerten (Suspension Center) easily qualified through to the Final, while world champion Melissa Buhl (KHS) had a little harder time, just scrapping through the quarterfinals after a late pass of Anita Molcik (Yeti Fox Shox). Downhiller Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Center) won the women's small final to take the fifth and final podium spot.
In the Final, Kintner had her usual fast start, followed by Buchanan. However, things came apart when Beerten came up fast on the outside out of the first corner. Kintner drifted across wide and into her perennial rival, knocking Beerten off the track and then crashing herself. This left Buchanan and Buhl in the race, with the Australian well in front and easily cruising in for the win. Buhl rolled across second and Beerten was the first back on her bike to take third and close on Kintner in the overall standings.
Kintner, the only rider with two wins in the series, held onto the leader's jersey, but now leads Beerten by a slim five points with three races remaining. Round three winner Fionn Griffiths (Norco World Team) is a distant third at 225 points.
"The conditions were unreal," commented Buchanan. "It was so slippery, so loose, that anyone could have taken it. I saw Jill and Anneke [crash], and I knew that I had it then. It is unbelievable to win."
|1||Caroline Buchanan (Aus)|
|2||Melissa Buhl (USA) KHS|
|3||Anneke Beerten (Ned) Suspension Center|
|4||Jill Kintner (USA) Red Bull/Intense/Crankbrothers|
|5||Emmeline Ragot (Fra) Suspension Center|
|6||Jana Horakova (Cze)|
|7||Mio Suemasa (Jpn)|
|8||Diana Marggraff (Ecu)|
|9||Anita Molcik (Aut) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team|
|10||Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco World Team|
|11||Joanna Petterson (RSA)|
|12||Eva Castro Fernandez (Esp)|
|13||Katy Curd (GBr)|
|14||Lucia Oetjen (Sui)|
|15||Rachel Seydoux (Sui)|
|16||Tereza Votavova (Cze)|
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