Kintner wins women's 4-cross world title


Kintner claimed her second consecutive world title ahead of Anneke Beerten and Anita Molcik (photo: Rob Jones)
Rotorua, New Zealand (August 25, 2006)óThe United Statesí first medal at the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships came in the form of gold when top-seeded Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash./GT Bicycles) successfully defended her womenís 4-cross title Friday. Kintner led from start to finish in a flawless final run against Anneke Beerten (NED), Anita Molcik (AUT) and Jana Horakova (CZE) to take her second title in as many years and give the U.S. National Mountain Bike team its fifth world 4-cross title since 2002.

A former BMX rider with 70-plus career wins, Kintnerís second 4-cross world title marks her fourth consecutive podium appearance at the mountain bike world championships after switching disciplines three years ago. She captured a silver medal in 2004 and a bronze in 2003.

With four American women dispersed throughout the two semifinal heats, Kintner was the only one to advance to the finals after defending bronze medalist Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif./Giant) crashed and Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz./KHS) and Jessica Vogt (Boulder, Colo./Turner-Wahoos) failed to advance out of their respective semifinal heats.

In the final, Kintner blasted out of the gate and took the immediate lead, never looking back on what most competitors considered the most challenging and treacherous 4-cross course in world championship history.

ďIt got a little squirrelly in some places,Ē admitted Kintner, ďbut I eventually put all the pieces together and remained focused mentally.Ē


Kintner was the only one of four Americans to advance to the final (photo: Rob Jones)
In the following small final to decide fifth to eighth place, Joey Gough of Great Britain was first across the line ahead of Buhl, Llanes and Vogt respectively.

In the menís division, defending world champion Brian Lopes (San Clemente, Calif./GT Bicycles) crashed in his semifinal heat. Lopesí subsequent absence meant the finals were without an American representative for the first time since the UCI added a gated racing discipline to the world championship program in 2000.

In the 1/8 finals, Lopes advanced to the quarterfinals with teammates Lars Sternberg (Vashon, Wash./Fluidside-Iron Horse) and Cody Warren (Alpine, Calif./C-Dub Racing) while Mike Haderer (Concord, Calif./Fox Shox-Yeti) and Rich Houseman (Temecula, Calif./Yeti-Fox) were eliminated.

In the ensuing quarterfinals, Warren crashed out of contention in his heat while Sternberg lost to Lopes and Michal Morosi (CZE) in his to end his run.

The elimination of four Americans in or before the quarterfinals left Lopes as the sole U.S. rider of eight competitors still in contention for the world title. In his semifinal heat against Marosi, Dan Atherton (GBR) and Roger Rinderknecht (SUI), Lopes admittedly started slow and later tangled with Marosi and went down, immediately ending his hopes of a fourth career world title.

ďIím not too happy, really,Ē commented Lopes. ďMy start wasnít that great and I can only blame that on myself. Other than that, my speed was pretty good, but I knew from the start that anything could happen on this course. There are three turns on which someone can clean you out and ruin your day. It was exactly what I knew could happen.Ē


Lopes' run at a fourth world title ended with a crash in the semifinals (photo: Rob Jones)
After a missed opportunity at another rainbow jersey, the most accomplished gated racer in U.S. mountain bike history withdrew from the consolation round for fifth through eighth place, but remained confident of his place in dual slalom and 4-cross history.

ďIím all about having fun at this point in my career,Ē said the five-time world cup champion and nine-time U.S. national champion, If I donít win another world championship or world cup, itís not going to tarnish what Iíve done in the past.Ē

Pre-race favorite and top seed, Michal Prokop of the Czech Republic, earned his second career world title ahead of silver medalist Rinderknecht and bronze medalist Guido Tschugg (GER).

Also on Friday, two Americans, Peter Hellenbrand (Seattle, Wash.) and William Hendrickson (Phoenix, Ariz.) competed in the semifinals of the elite menís 26Ē trials., placing 22nd and 23rd respectively. Only the top eight advance to the finals.

2006 UCI World Championships
Rotorua, New Zealand
August 22-27

Fridayís Results

Menís 4-Cross
1. Michal Prokop (CZE)
2. Roger Rinderknecht (SUI)
3. Guido Tschugg (GER)
4. Dan Atherton (GBR)
8. Brian Lopes (San Clemente, Calif.)
13. Lars Sternberg (Vashon, Wash.)
14. Cody Warren (Alpine, Calif.)
22. Rich Houseman (Temecula, Calif.)
32. Mike Haderer (Concord, Calif.)


Womenís 4-Cross
1. Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.)
2. Anneke Beerten (NED)
3. Anita Molick (AUT)
6. Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.)
7. Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif.)
8. Jessica Vogt (Boulder, Colo.)


U23 Menís Cross Country Race
1. Nino Schurter (SUI) 1:54.58
2. Tony Longo (ITA) +0:50
3. Max Plaxton (CAN) +2:34
38. Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont.) +18:06
45. Sam Jurekovic (Colorado Springs, Colo.) -1 Lap
50. Andrew Freye (Winthrop, Maine) -1 Lap
52. Spencer Paxson (Middlebury, Vt.) -1 Lap
60. Colin Cares (Boulder, Colo.) -2 Laps


Elite Menís 26Ē Trials Semifinals
1. Peter Bartak (SVK) 11
2. Rafal Kumorowski (POL) 13
3. Marco Hosel (GER) 14
22. Peter Hellenbrand (Seattle, Wash.) 80
23. William Hendrickson (Phoenix, Ariz.) 80


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