The 2008 Nissan UCI World Cup moved towards a conclusion with the penultimate XC, DH and 4X rounds in Canberra, Australia at the weekend, the venue that will host the World Championships in 2009. In fact, the XC series has been concluded in the sense that Julien Absalon (Orbea) and Marie-Hélène Prémont (Rocky Mountain) are unreachable at the heads of their respective leaderboards. Neither made the trip to Australia, leaving Ralf Näf (Multivan Merida) and Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) to take the race wins.
Näf’s teammate José Hermida came in second, with Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) taking third spot and moving up to second in the overall rankings. A relatively poor day for Christoph Sauser saw him in 11th place, slipping to third overall. As for the Brits, Liam Killeen was 14th and Oli Beckinsale 22nd.
It’s still all to play for in the downhill series. Going in to Canberra, Sam Hill (Monster Energy Iron Horse) was leading the overall standings. But he could only manage 11th place on home soil, with Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) taking the win by a healthy four seconds over teammate Nathan Rennie. Gee Atherton was third. The win puts Minnaar at the top of the table going into the final round, with a 116 point lead over Hill. Hill has won on the Schladming course that will host the final round four times, though. It’s going to be close… Gee Atherton is third overall, while Steve Peat’s 7th place in Canberra keeps him in fourth spot.
In the women’s race, Tracy Moseley took her second win of the season, four seconds clear of series leader Rachel Atherton. Atherton beat rival Sabrina Jonnier by the slimmest of margins, but it was enough to extend her overall lead. It’s still possible for Jonnier to take the title, but she’ll have to be a lot of places ahead of Atherton in Austria to pull it off. Tracy Moseley is guaranteed a third spot.