Cycling: For the third time in a row, the 4X World Championship took place in Leogang, Austria. Drivers from more than ten nations fought for the coveted rainbow jersey on the 450-metre-long route. Steffi Marth got the first precious metal for the German 4X women.
The big favorites were Tomas Slavik from the Czech Republic and Katy Curd from the UK. But the German 4x team also wanted to have a say in the fight for the medals. With Steffi Marth, the women had a hot iron in the fire. She proved her podium ambitions with an excellent second place in qualifying.
But Aiko Göhler and Benedikt Last also showed themselves to be self-confident on the demanding track and finished in the top 10. Meanwhile, Tomas Slavik qualified ahead of his compatriot and probably biggest World Cup competitor Michael Mechura.
On Saturday afternoon almost 2000 spectators lined the ranks of the Bikepark Leogang and looked forward to exciting duels. Both Steffi Marth and Aiko Göhler drove into the big finals with skillful manoeuvres.
Marth got off to a good start in the finale and was able to put pressure on her rivals in the first corner. In the end, however, she had to admit defeat to Anneke Beerten from the Netherlands and the new world champion Katy Curd. Nevertheless, she celebrated her greatest success to date with her bronze medal and thus secured the German women the first precious metal since the beginning of 4X sports.
“Looked at objectively, a medal was possible, but you never know what will happen in the race. The fact that I was actually on the podium at the end was amazing. Such a great feeling", said Marth after the award ceremony.
Aiko Göhler had a difficult race ahead of him with Tomas Slavik, Michael Mechura and the Swiss Simon Waldburger, but none in which he couldn't compete for victory. Göhler is known for his surprising and risky overtaking manoeuvres, so everyone was looking at the first corner. After a good start, however, he touched Mechura's rear wheel and fell. Slavik lived up to his role as favorite and secured his long-awaited second world title ahead of Mechura and Waldburger.
“Reaching the final is incredible, I didn't expect that but I had surprisingly good starts. In the final, everything was at stake. I held back a bit in the first corner. Mechura hit a hard left hook and knocked my front wheel off, causing me to fall. Super annoying but there was nothing I could do – that's racing.” – Aiko Goehler
Photos: Sebastian Schieck