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MTB World Cup XC #7 & DH #5 - CDM
Bromont, Canada, August 1-3, 2008
Race 3 - August 2: Elite men 4X
Alvarez makes comeback to win
By Sue George in Bromont, Québec
Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lu won a rainy elite men's 4X in Bromont for this second World Cup win in a row after also taking Mont-Sainte-Anne last weekend. If you also count the World Championships, it was his third win in a row. Cedric Gracia (Commencal - Furious - Oak) finished second in the Big Final. After crashing, Guido Tschugg ended up third and Johannes Fischbach (Team Ghost International) was fourth.
It looked like World Champion Rafael Alvarez de Lara Lu would miss the big final after crashing at the start of his semi-final heat, but when two other riders crashed later in the same run, he seized the opportunity and finished second in that round to advance.
Alvarez had crashed in his semi-final round because he anticipated the start too early. "There was a lot of noise at the top and it was impossible to hear," he said through a translator. "I thought I heard the start, and so I went before the (actual) start." He was left picking himself up at the gate while the others rolled away, but he didn't give up.
Guido Tschugg took the win in Alvarez's semi-final heat, but behind him Filip Polc and John Swanguen who crashed, giving Alvarez a chance to move to second from fourth and thereby punch his ticket to the big final.
In the other semi-final, Fischback and Gracia advanced ahead of Romain Saladini (Team Sunn) and Joost Wichman (Cannondale Factory Racing Team). Wichman looked to have the second spot, but a gutsy pass by Gracia got him second and a ride to the Big Final.
In the big final with Alvarez, Tschugg, Fischbach and Gracia, sparks flew from the start. Alvarez made sure his timing at the start was perfect. He knew just what he needed to do.
"In the final, I knew to keep my eye on the first corner and that's where I would give myself the most options to win," said Alvarez.
Behind him, the race was between Tschugg and Fischbach.
"We were fighting for second place, and I always tried to pass in the corners - on the inside," said Tschugg. "Then I thought, 'Now I got him,' but his rear went out and I crashed.
"We both crashed and his pedal ended up in my front wheel, so we couldn't get up quickly and go," said Tschugg. "I waited for him and we both rode in together."
That left Gracia an open door to charge for second place overall.
"I knew everyone was falling on the ground and I waited," joked Gracia. "My game was to wait until everyone else crashed and if they didn't crash, I'd make them crash. I heard its legal in mountain biking " he trailed off as he turned his attention to an offered beer which he was being encouraged to chug by some inebriated fellow racers and fans.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by FJ Hughes / www.fhughesphoto.com
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
Big Final 1 Rafael Alvarez De Lara Lu (Spa) 2 Cedric Gracia (Fra) Commencal - Furious - Oak 3 Guido Tschugg (Ger) 4 Johannes Fischback (Ger) Team Ghost International Small Final 5 Joost Wichman (Ned) Cannondale Factory Racing Team 6 John Swanguen (USA) MS Intense Factory Racing Team 7 Romain Saladini (Fra) Team Sunn 8 Filip Polc (Svk) Kenda Tomac 1/4 Finals 9 Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal 10 Scott Beaumont (GBr) Rocky Mountain UK 11 Will Longden (GBr) Team Bike Radar 12 Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze) Suzuki-RB 13 Dominik Gspan (Swi) 14 Hans Lambert (Can) Norco World Team 15 Erik Nelson (USA) 16 Tomas Slavik (Cze) 1/8 Finals 17 Fabien Cousinie (Fra) 18 Lewis Lacey (GBr) 19 Cody Warren (USA) 20 Michael Robert Haderer (USA) 21 Heikki Hall (USA) 22 Adrian Weiss (Swi) Tomac Factory Racing 23 Cody Eichorn (Aus) 24 Florian Gottschlich (Ger) 25 Jurg Meijer (Ned) 26 Joey Van Veghel (Ned) 27 George Stephenson (USA) 28 Scott Roberts (GBr) 29 Sascha Meyenbourg (Ger) 30 Bruno Boissin (Fra) 31 Michael Garcia (Ned) 32 Adrian Hanko (Ger) Solid AClass Factory Team Qualifications DNS Ludovic Gadois (Fra) DNS Nicolas Gspan (Swi) DNS Greg Minnaar (RSa) Santa Cruz Syndicate Teams 1 MS-Intense Factory-Racing 85 pts 2 Commencal - Furious - Oakley Team 35 3 4 Elements Yeti/Hotec/RSP 30 4 Team Ghost International 26 5 Cannondale Factory Racing 22 6 Team Sunn 18 7 Norco World Team 17 8 Kenda Tomac 16 9 Animal Commencal 14 10 Rocky Mountain UK 12 11 Team Bike Radar 10 12 Suzuki-RB 9 World Cup stadnings after five rounds 1 Rafael Alvarez De Lara Lucas (Spa) 860 pts 2 Guido Tschugg (Ger) 750 3 Cédric Gracia (Fra) Commencal - Furious - Oakley Team 550 4 Dan Atherton (GBr) Animal Commencal 520 5 Johannes Fischbach (Ger) Team Ghost International 340 6 Romain Saladini (Fra) Team Sunn 340 7 Joost Wichman (Ned) Cannondale Factory Racing 315 8 Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze) Suzuki-RB 265 9 Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 250 10 Tomas Slavik (Cze) 205 11 Brian Lopes (USA) 200 12 Filip Polc (Svk) Kenda Tomac 170 13 Jurg Meijer (Ned) 135 14 Michal Prokop (Cze) 120 15 Mickael Deldycke (Fra) 120 16 Rastislav Pirman (Svk) 4 Elements Yeti/Hotec/Rsp 120 17 John Swanguen (USA) MS-Intense Factory-Racing 80 18 Scott Beaumont (GBr) Rocky Mountain UK 75 19 Ross Milan (USA) Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 70 20 Sascha Meyenborg (Ger) 60 21 Will Longden (GBr) Team BikeRadar 55 22 Quentin Derbier (Fra) 50 23 Fabien Cousinie (Fra) 35 24 Tomas Haluza (Cze) 35 25 Thomas Tokarczyk (USA) 30 26 Dave Wardell (GBr) 30 27 Sidney Gerber (Swi) 25 28 Dominik Gspan (Swi) 20 29 Joey Van Veghel (Ned) 20 30 Hans Lambert (Can) Norco World Team 15 31 Ludovic Gadois (Fra) 15 32 William Evans (GBr) 15 33 Erik Nelson (USA) 10 34 Lewis Lacey (GBr) 10 35 Michael Garcia (Ned) 10 36 Miroslav Jirka (Cze) 10 37 Adrian Weiss (Swi) Tomac Factory Racing 5 38 Frans Sjoblom (Swe) 5 39 Lukas Mechura (Cze) Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 5 40 Livio Zampieri (Ita) 5 Team standings 1 MS-Intense Factory-Racing 280 pts 2 4 Elements Yeti/Hotec/RSP 126 3 Commencal - Furious - Oakley Team 119 4 Suzuki-RB 107 5 Animal Commencal 104 6 Norco World Team 92 7 Team Ghost International 80 8 Team Sunn 73 9 Cannondale Factory Racing 64 10 Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team 64 11 Kenda Tomac 56 12 Rocky Mountain UK 28 13 Team Bike Radar 19 14 Tomac Factory Racing 5 15 Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense 5