World Championship XC Racing starts in Canberra—Plus: 4X, DH practice are underway and the impromptu Pump Track World Championships is in the books

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Welcome to Day Two at the 2009 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships in Canberra, where women’s XC Racing has begun, DH and 4X Practice is underway, and as a bonus, an underground (and completely unsanctioned) Pump Track World Championships went down.

First things first: the official docket—individual XC competitions began in earnest here today in Mount Stromlo, and with all things gentlemanly the the Junior women and U23 women went first.

In the Junior Women race it became clear very quickly it was a contest between Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) and Michelle Hediger (Switzerland). The two traded the lead for lap after lap of their three-lap race – with Prevot’s superior strength on the flat and climbs ultimately triumphing over Hediger’s technical skills.

Junior Womens Podium face the media

The Junior Women's Podium faces the media

South Africa’s Candice Neethling took 3rd place with a great first lap and then held it down for the rest of the race.

In the U23 Women’s race held later in the afternoon, Poland’s Aleksandra Dawidowicz took home a convincing win—showing that her recent European title was no fluke. France’s Julie Bresset set the early pace, breaking away with Dawidowicz, Sweden’s Alexandra Engen and Canada’s Emily Batty. But Batty succumbed to mechanical issues and dropped out of the picture in the first lap. She did struggle on and ended up 11th on the day after fighting her way back through the field.

Poland's Aleksandra Dawidowicz wins the U23 Women's XCO

Poland's Aleksandra Dawidowicz wins the U23 Women's XCO

Meanwhile, Dawidowicz and Engen steadily pulled away from the remainder of the 34-strong field until, eventually, Dawidowicz held out and ended up soloing to victory.

Elsewhere on the mountain the DH practice continued with some riders struggling to get to grips with the super-fast, hardpack surface and a number succumbed to injury. Most notable is Andrew Neethling of Trek World Racing who sustained three fractures to a knuckle and will possibly have to sit out Sunday’s finals unless a cast can be made to fit in time – and if he can handle the pain of a jarring World Cup DH course with a busted hand.

Anka Martin of South Africa descends the Mount Stromlo DH Track

Anka Martin of South Africa descends the Mount Stromlo DH track

The 4X riders got their first taste of the revised course this afternoon with their first practice session taking place in some glorious light. But sadly, as always, the schedule dictates that 4X must be held in the dark.

Why this travesty continues to haunt 4X racing, we may never know.

Australia's Sam Willoughby during 4X practice

Australia's Sam Willoughby during 4X practice

And last, but by no means least, there was the completely unofficial – yet spectacularly attended – Pump Track World Champs. A bunch of Canberra locals decided to hold a competition on a backyard pump track and invited all the worlds best pump trackers – or those who thought they could hold their own for 10 laps of a pump track. Between schedule clashes, worries about over-training and the bitter cold a few riders failed to pitch up. But those who did were rewarded with the best underground event a World Champs has seen in a long time.

Steve Peat, Brian Lopes, Mick Hannah, Greg Minnaar and Kyle Strait were all among the conenders, racing against Canberra locals who had all been round the track a whole lot more than 10 times before.

Only invited guests and media were allowed to attend and it was a veritable who’s-who of the bike world

After some initial qualifying rounds the finals in the late afternoon, the finals took place in the dark, cold, Canberra night under floodlights.

Fastest qualifier Brendan Fairclough somehow managed to disconnect the timing lead for his final run and ended up having to do 6 laps again only to go slower than Cairns Mick Hannah who picked up the largest purse on offer at the World Championships – $2500 AUS. Fairclough was, however, rewarded with a custom surfboard signed by all those who participated.

USA's Mikey Haderer tackles the Pump Track Worlds track in suburban Canberra.

USA's Mikey Haderer tackles the Pump Track Worlds track in suburban Canberra.

\\\ Results ///////

/// Junior Women XCO ///

1 Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) 1:05:23

2 Michelle Hediger (Switzerland) 0:00:33

3 Candice Neethling (South Africa) 0:01:06

4 Helen Grobert (Germany) 0:03:08

5 Noga Korem (Israel) 0:03:23

6 Elise Marchal (Belgium) 0:04:25

7 Rebecca Henderson (Australia) 0:04:47

8 Vania Schumacher (Switzerland) 0:04:57

9 Julie Berteaux (France) 0:04:58

10 Yue Bai (People’s Republic Of China) 0:05:01

11 Anne Terpstra (Netherlands) 0:05:38

12 Mariske Strauss (South Africa) 0:05:43

13 Rozanne Slik (Netherlands) 0:06:43

14 Nicole Hanselmann (Switzerland) 0:06:47

15 Yana Belomoyna (Ukraine) 0:07:31

16 Jill Behlen (United States Of America) 0:08:17

17 Ekaterina Anoshina (Russian Federation) 0:08:18

18 Barton Essence (United States Of America) 0:08:49

19 Daniela Rojas (Chile) 0:08:59

20 Mona Eiberweiser (Germany) 0:09:25

21 Cayley Brooks (Canada) 0:09:39

22 Alexa Peters (New-Zealand) 0:09:46

23 Laura Bietola (Canada) 0:10:36

24 Shelly Flood (Australia) 0:10:40

25 Lisa Mitterbauer (Austria) 0:11:51

26 Gillian Burgess (Australia) 0:13:15

27 Sarah-kate Mcdonald (New-Zealand) 0:15:24

28 Sasha Smith (New-Zealand) 0:15:46

/// U23 Women XCO ///

1 Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Poland) 1:24:32

2 Alexandra Engen (Sweden) 0:01:13

3 Julie Bresset (France) 0:02:31

4 Kathrin Stirnemann (Switzerland) 0:04:03

5 Annie Last (Great Britain) 0:04:16

6 Barbara Benko (Hungary) 0:04:35

7 Paula Gorycka (Poland) 0:05:13

8 Vivianne Meyer (Switzerland) 0:05:31

9 Caroline Mani (France) 0:05:42

10 Vera Andreeva (Russian Federation) 0:05:43

11 Emily Batty (Canada)

12 Hanna Klein (Germany) 0:06:19

13 Julie Krasniak (France) 0:06:35

14 Tereza Hurikova (Czech Republic) 0:06:45

15 Chloe Forsman (United States Of America) 0:07:23

16 Nataliya Krompets (Ukraine) 0:07:49

17 Maaike Polspoel (Belgium) 0:08:42

18 Amy Dombroski (United States Of America) 0:09:47

19 Sanne Cant (Belgium) 0:12:11

20 Irina Slobodyan (Ukraine) 0:13:32

21 Tingting Sui (People’s Republic of China) 0:13:48

22 Michelle Bellamy (New Zealand) 0:13:49

23 Samara Sheppard (New Zealand) 0:13:50

24 Evgenia Belozerova (Russian Federation) 0:16:30

25 Lily Matthews (Great Britain) 0:17:32

26 Therese Rhodes (Australia) 0:19:08

27 Katherine O’neill (New Zealand) 0:21:43

28 Heletje Van Staden (Namibia) 0:22:48

-1lap Alexandra Gabriela Serrano Rodriguez (Ecuador)

-2laps Gracie Elvin (Australia)

-3laps Masami Noma (Japan)

DNF Tanja Zakelj (Slovenia)

DNF Mikaela Kofman (Canada)

DNF Laura Valentina Abril Restrepo (Colombia)

DNS Monique Avery (New Zealand)

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