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Jeep King of the Mountain #1 - NE
San Luis Obispo, CA , USA, July 8, 2006
Michael Prokop and Jill Kintner win Jeep KOM opener
Two of the youngest athletes on the Jeep ® King of the Mountain Series (www.jeepsports.com) roster, Jill Kintner of Seattle, Wash., and Michal Prokop of the Czech Republic (both 25) continued their torrid national and international winning streaks by capturing titles at the first stop of the 2006 Mountain Biking World Professional Championships today in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
The thousands of race enthusiasts on hand from across the Central Coast area were met with blue skies, ideal temperatures and action packed racing that resulted in several wipeouts and numerous photo finishes before the outcome was decided. At the end of the day, Prokop and Kintner, the event's defending World Professional Champions, held off their rivals to earn the top spot on the podium.
Prokop, who has won four of the first five races of the 2006 UCI World Cup season as well as a World Championship, European Championship and National Championship , began the day with a win over Brian Schmith of Lancaster, Calif., a NORBA Nationals and World Cup medalist. He then eliminated Eric Carter of Temecula, Calif., the 2005 USA Cycling National Champion, to reach the Championship Heat.
Once there, he faced Brian Lopes of San Clemente, Calif., a three-time World Champion, five-time World Cup Champion and nine-time National Champion who is one of the most recognizable cyclists in history. Lopes worked his way to the finals with victories over Travis Collins , the local favorite from San Luis Obispo, and Wade Bootes of Australia, the 2004 JKOM World Professional Champion and runner up in 2005. Prokop swept Lopes in a close two-race duel to bring home the title, with Carter edging out Bootes in the Consolation Heat for third place.
On the women's side, Kintner arrived having earned titles at four of the first five races of the 2006 UCI World Cup season, as well as the Sea Otter Classic, BMX Australian National Championship and Australian Mountain Bike National Championship.
In the first and second rounds, she dispatched Arielle Martin of Provo, Utah, a student at Brigham Young University and four-time National Bicycling League (NBL) National titlist, and her top challenger, Tara Llanes, of Corona, Calif., a 4-time Winter X medalist who currently ranks second in the UCI World Cup standings. That moved her into the Championship Heat, where she would face Melissa Buhl of Chandler, Ariz., the 2050 NORBA Downhill Champion.
Buhl herself had an outstanding day of racing, with wins over Bobbi Kae Watt of Broomfield, Colo., a former Sea Otter Classic Champion and Mountain States Classic titlist, and Katrina Miller of Australia, the 2004 JKOM World Professional Champion and UCI World Cup titlist this season. Kintner maintained her momentum by outlasting Buhl to earn the title, with Llanes knocking out Miller to grab third place honors.
Jeep KOM World Professional Champions are crowned based on a system of cumulative points earned throughout the Jeep King of the Mountain season. In addition to competing for the coveted overall title, the racers are battling for a share of the richest cash payout in the sport, topping $100,000, and the keys to a new 2007 Jeep Compass.
Having completed this first leg of competition in San Luis Obispo, the Jeep King of the Mountain Series will resume in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Aug. 12, before culminating with the grand finale on Sept. 3 in Beaver Creek , Colo.
The San Louis Obispo Jeep KOM competition is scheduled to air in the US on CBS Sports Aug 13 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EST
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by courtesy of Jeep KOM
Men 1 Michal Prokop, Czech Republic 2 Brian Lopes, San Clemente, Calif. 3 Eric Carter, Temecula, Calif. 4 Wade Bootes, Australia 5 Chris Powell, Carmel Valley, Calif. 6 Mike King, San Diego, Calif. 7 Travis Collins, San Luis Obispo, Calif. 8 Brian Schmith, Lancaster, Calif. Women 1 Jill Kintner, Seattle, Wash. 2 Melissa Buhl, Chandler, Ariz. 3 Tara Llanes, Corona, Calif. 4 Katrina Miller, Australia 5 Fionn Griffiths, Great Britain 6 Marla Streb, Los Osos, Calif. 7 Bobbi Kae, Watt Broomfield, Colo. 8 Arielle Martin, Provo, Utah