August 25, 2006 (Rotorua, New Zealand) — The threatening weather that was predicted held off today as the skies cleared and fans were treated to a glorious afternoon of sunshine and stellar racing for the the 4X World Championship titles.
The track here in Rotorua is steep and fast making it one heck of a ride. In light of this, 16 women were originally registered but only nine attempted to qualify, leading to some disappointment among the racers. The track was just too scary according to some women, and many elected to focus only on the DH event taking place tomorrow (where the course is no less dangerous).
At the post-race press conference Anneke Beerten (NED) said that the course was probably over the head of many riders, particularly some of the women.
The features on this course led to some interesting races as Eric Carter (USA) didn’t qualify, Cedric Gracia (FRA) was knocked out in the first round, and others missed gates and were DQed.
Michal Prokop (CZE) went gate to gate without losing a single round, as did women’s champ Jill Kintner (USA) to win the men’s and women’s 4X world titles. Pre-race favorite Brian Lopes (USA) was taken out in the semi finals and elected not to race in the consolation round and settled for 8th place.
“The course was good, I really liked it,” said Prokop. He went on to explain that “the gates were different from a World Cup, They were pretty stiff, you can crash if you hit a gate hard.” Prokop crashed out of last year’s DH Worlds in Livigno, Italy with a compound fracture when he hooked a gate and went down hard. This year he took home the World Cup overall as well as the Worlds title. “I almost won everything. I am pretty happy with a great season,” he added.
Roger Rinderknecht (SUI) was second, Guido Tschugg (GER) placed third and Dan Atherton (GBR) was fourth to round out the men’s 4X finals.
Kintner raved about the course after the race. ” It was the biggest course I’ve ever ridden. It was unique; you didn’t want to lose concentration one bit, ” she said. She went on to voice her disappointment with the turnout on the ladies side of things. “What can you do? You race your race and hope more show up,” she commented.
Anneke Beerteen (NED) took home the silver, Anita Molcik (AUS) the bronze and Jana Harakova (CZE) was 4th for the 4X women’s final.
1 Jill Kintner (USA)
2 Anneke Brerton (Netherlands)
3 Anita Molicik (Austria)
4 Jana Horakova (Czech Republic)
1 Michal Prokop (Czech Republic)
2 Roger Rinderkneckt (Switzerland)
3 Guido Tschugg (Germany)
4 Gee Atherton (Great Britain)