At the fourth race of the "4X Pro Tour", team Gates-Nicolai’s Quentin Derbier got fifth, scoring his second consecutive podium finish. And there is news about London’s Olympic BMX race as well: In what was essentially a duel of two team riders of Onza Tires, Swiss Olympic decided to send Roger Rinderknecht to the biggest race of the year rather than David Graf.
Due to an injury, Quentin Derbier had a late start into the fourcross season. Due to that, team Gates-Nicolai’s Frenchman missed out on the first two races of 2012’s season. But in Val di Sole, Derbier was back, made it to the semi-finals and finished in fifth by winning the small final. Only one week later, Derbier even did better in Fort William, Scotland, at the fourth race of the "4X Pro Tour": In Italy he had qualified in eighth, this time it was a fifth place against even stronger competition.
Quentin Derbier kept his opponents in check right to the semi-finals. There he faced Michal Prokop and Tomas Slavik, the World champions of the last two years. But as the first heats had gone so well, the Frenchman was in a high mood even against the seemingly superior Czech riders. After a strong start, he slipped a pedal with one foot and had to forget about the big final. Instead, Derbier found consolation in winning the small final, keeping local rider Scott Beaumont in check and beating the Scotsman in a photo finish after a tight sprint to the line. So he made it to the podium again.
"Despite only having competed in two out of four races of the 4X Pro Tour, I have already climbed to tenth in the overall standings. If I do that well again at the series’ finals in Willingen next weekend, I might move up even further", a determined and bellicose Derbier comments. "It certainly does good to be back and compete with the world’s elite after the break caused by that injury. But that would not be possible without full confidence regarding my equipment, including Onza Tires’ tires and inner tubes."
Two other team riders of Onza Tires skipped this season’s fourcross races: Both Roger Rinderknecht and David Graf fully focussed on BMX due to London’s Olympic games. At the beginning of the year, David Graf as the younger rider of the two had the better results in Worldcup races on his record. But in the most recent months, Roger Rinderknecht equalled that record, so it was up to Swiss Cycling to decide who would be representing Switzerland at the Olympic BMX race as the country’s sole rider.
The decision has been taken at the end of last week: After Beijing, Roger Rinderknecht gets his second shot at the Olympic games. Riding for the same club and living in the same city, David Graf has been selected as back-up. "I truly deserved getting selected with a series of good results this spring", a relieved Roger Rinderknecht comments on the decision. "I am going to train at maximum intensity throughout the next couple of weeks to make sure that I can perform at my very best. After all, getting selected for the Olympic games is not only an honour but just as much an obligation. I would like to thank all those who made this possible – including the folks at Onza Tires."
At first, David Graf had a hard time hiding his disappointment about only being at the undisputed highlight of the season in London as a spectator. "But at the same time I am also delighted for my training mate and near-neighbour Roger, of course. And being the back-up rider, I get an opportunity to scent some Olympic air." Being an ambitious athlete, Graf is also looking ahead: "It has cost me quite some work and pain to make it into Swiss Olympic’s final selection in the first place. Now I am bound and determined to do that again in four years’ time. My focus simply shifts from London to Rio de Janeiro now."