567At 35 years old, the Dutch Joost Wichman is one of the discipline’s “dinosaurs”. The man who was European Champion in 2010 had decided to leave the world four-cross scene after the event in Leogang. Third in 2011 in Champéry, he certainly made sure he went out in style. After an average start in the final, he avoided a crash between the two Czech riders Michael Mechura and Thomas Slavik. Although France’s Quentin Derbier was leading the way for a long time, he couldn’t stave off two rockets: Wichman and Mechura. Joost Wichman followed in the footsteps of Roger Rinderknecht last year by winning his first world title before turning the page of his career. At just 20 years old, Michael Mechura, finished second as he did last year, and can tell himself that he still has some wonderful years of competition ahead of him. For the first time in his career, Quentin Derbier took pride of place on the podium. No French athlete has been on the podium since Saladini’s silver medal in 2009.

Women’s: Buchanan’s exploit

BMX World Champion in Auckland (New Zealand) this summer, Caroline Buchanan was dreaming of a perfect end to the season. She wanted to make her mark on the Downhill Worlds in Pietermaritzburg and the Four-cross in Leogang. After a fifth place in South Africa, she shone through in her final challenge of the season, easily dominating the Austrian events. After clocking up the fastest time in the qualifying rounds, she was never in danger in the final. She took the honours in front of England’s Cathy Curd and France’s Céline Gros. The French athlete won the Downhill World Cup in 2004 and finished third in the Worlds the same year. She now retires after 15 years on the circuit. Buchanan, who will celebrate her 23rd birthday in October, now has three four-cross World titles to her name after 2009 (Canberra) and 2010. In total she now has five World titles with the BMX time trial in 2012 and her win in the main race this year.

Competition continues on Sunday with the DHI World Cup final, to be followed live on redbull.tv.ch

cycledude (868 Posts)