Jared Graves and Caroline Buchanan win 4X World titles at Mount Stromlo, while South Africa’s Burry Stander takes the U23 XCO title.

First up for competition was the Mens U23 XCO, and Stander was the overwhelming favorite. It was his to lose rather than to race for the win given his results this season and at previous World Champs.

Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA), Burry Stander (RSA),  Thomas Litscher (SWI) show off their medal haul.

Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA), Burry Stander (RSA), Thomas Litscher (SWI) show off their medal haul.

At previous Worlds he has finished 2nd (2008) and 3rd (2007), and given he has not only won almost  every World Cup race in the U23 category this season, but is also on the elite podium at the same time in a number of those races it would be a foolish man who would have bet against him.

The start of the mens U23 XCO race in Canberra

The start of the mens U23 XCO race in Canberra

After learning from his mistakes of last year’s world champs, where superior Swiss tactics ruled the day, Stander overcame his box-in at the start and quickly got on the wheel of Switzerland’ Thomas Litscher to head into the all-important singletrack in second place.

Once on the Cardiac Arrest climb upped the pace and dropped Litscher and from there on in everyone  else in the field was racing for second. For the rest of the six lap race, Stander controlled the  pace and crossed the line in 1 hour 47 minutes and 26 seconds, some 1 minute 21 ahead of France’s Alexis Vuillermoz who caught and passed the fading Litscher.

Next up was 4X, and hopes were high here for an Aussie sweep of the titles – and the thousands who braved the cold were not disappointed – when first Canberra local Caroline Buchanan won and then minutes later Toowomba native Jared Graves took the mens title.

Jared Graves, Romain Saladini and Jakub Riha

Jared Graves, Romain Saladini and Jakub Riha

Buchanan, who used to live right next to Mount Stromlo, but whose home was destroyed in bush fires here in 2003, won last year’s World Cup here as well and used her local knowledge to full effect. Despite being ‘only’ the second fastest qualifier and not having lane choice, Buchanan won every heat and was a clear victor on the night. Former World Champions Jill Kintner and Melissa Buhl of the USA were 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Canberra local Caroline Buchanan wins the 4X World title

Canberra local Caroline Buchanan wins the 4X World title

Graves, meanwhile, has been close at almost every World Champs he has raced, i think i have a picture of him with head in hands from the last 2 Worlds – in Val di Sole and Fort William. But he put all that behind him here and was absolutely flawless in every heat. He said he did feel added pressure when in the uplift and he heard the race radio announced Buchanan’s win – although how he heard it over the crowd’s roar I will never know.

The crowds showed up in their thousands despite the cold

The crowds showed up in their thousands despite the cold

The downhillers had a timed run today in a new twist to the competition’s format. The run has no effect on seeding or qualification it is merely an indicator for riders and fans to work out who’s who in the zoo. The body of trade teams IMTTO (International Mountain Bike Teams, Technical Support companies and Event Organisers) proposed the change to avoid riders playing the rain card and also hogging the hot seat for 2 or more hours by qualifying slow on purpose.

As expected by many Australia’s Mick Hannah set the fastest time in the men, while Tracy Moseley of  Great Britain was fastest in the women’s.

Competition on Saturday is all about XCO – with the Elite Women off at 10am and then Elite Men off at 2pm.

Mens 4X

1 Jared Graves (Australia)

2 Romain Saladini (France)

3 Jakub Riha (Czech Republic)

4 Rafael Alvarez De Lara Lucas (Spain)

5 Tomas Slavik (Czech Republic)

6 Joost Wichman (Netherlands)

7 David Graf (Switzerland)

8 Blake Carney (United States Of America)

9 Sam Willoughby (Australia)

10 Dan Atherton (Great Britain)

11 Leigh Darrell (Australia)

12 Guido Tschugg (Germany)

13 Ryan Henderson (Australia)

14 Johannes Fischbach (Germany)

15 Luke Madill (Australia)

16 Aurélien Giordanengo (France)

17 Scott Beaumont (Great Britain)

18 Matthew Walker (New Zealand)

19 Matej Vitko (Slovakia)

20 Randal Huntington (Australia)

21 Daniel Ricardo Castillo (Colombia)

22 Kazuki Shimizu (Japan)

23 Kye Walstrom (Canada)

24 Michal Prokop (Czech Republic)

25 Pascal Seydoux (Switzerland)

26 Mitch Ropelato (United States Of America)

27 Jurg Meijer (Netherlands)

28 Edward Masters (New Zealand)

29 Michael Robert Haderer (United States Of America)

30 Junya Nagata (Japan)

31 Camilo Andres Sanchez Paez (Colombia)

32 Filip Polc (Slovakia)

Womens 4X

1 Caroline Buchanan (Australia)

2 Jill Kintner (United States Of America)

3 Melissa Buhl (United States Of America)

4 Anita Molcik (Austria)

5 Anneke Beerten (Netherlands)

6 Mio Suemasa (Japan)

7 Sarsha Huntington (Australia)

8 Julia Boer (Hungary)

9 Romana Labounkova (Czech Republic)

10 Joanna Petterson (South Africa)

11 Fionn Griffiths (Great Britain)

DSQ Diana Marggraff (Ecuador)

U23 Mens XCO

1 Burry Stander (South Africa) 1:47:26

2 Alexis Vuillermoz (France) 0:01:21

3 Thomas Litscher (Switzerland) 0:02:46

4 Peter Sagan (Slovakia) 0:04:15

5 Marek Konwa (Poland) 0:04:45

6 Guillaume Vinit (France) 0:04:59

7 Mattias Wengelin (Sweden) 0:05:14

8 Fabian Giger (Switzerland) 0:05:32

9 Lukas Kaufmann (Switzerland) 0:05:57

10 Catriel Andres Soto (Argentina) 0:06:31

11 Lachlan Norris (Australia) 0:07:33

12 Anders Hovdenes (Norway) 0:07:54

13 Tom Meeusen (Belgium) 0:08:11

14 Mathias Flückiger (Switzerland) 0:08:15

15 Henk Jaap Moorlag (Netherlands) 0:08:28

16 Paul Van Der Ploeg (Australia) 0:08:31

17 Sepp Freiburghaus (Switzerland) 0:08:57

18 Markus Bauer (Germany) 0:09:01

19 Cal Britten (Australia) 0:09:03

20 Dario Alejandro Gasco (Argentina) 0:09:05

21 Simon Scheiber (Austria) 0:09:16

22 Irjan Luttenberg (Netherlands) 0:09:36

23 Johannes Schweiggl (Italy) 0:09:42

24 Robert Gehbauer (Austria) 0:09:50

25 Marco Minnaard (Netherlands) 0:09:54

26 Piotr Brzozka (Poland) 0:10:08

27 Luka Mezgec (Slovenia) 0:10:19

28 Sebastien Carabin (Belgium) 0:10:30

29 David Fletcher (Great Britain) 0:10:46

30 Niels Wubben (Netherlands) 0:11:01

31 Sergey Nikolaev (Russian Federation) 0:11:19

32 Robbie Squire (United States Of America) 0:11:25

33 Marcel Fleschhut (Germany) 0:11:36

34 Charlton Durie (Australia) 0:11:37

35 Lukas Sablik (Czech Republic) 0:11:46

36 Tad Elliott (United States Of America) 0:11:47

37 Pascal Meyer (Switzerland) 0:12:45

38 Raphael Gagne (Canada) 0:12:55

39 Erik Groen (Netherlands) 0:13:01

40 Cristian Cominelli (Italy) 0:13:19

41 Fabian Strecker (Germany) 0:13:22

42 Evgeniy Nikolaev (Russian Federation) 0:14:16

43 Roman Orlov (Russian Federation) 0:14:31