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    New Champions Set To Emerge As Jeep® King Of The Mountain 2007 Mtb Biking World

    For Immediate Release:
    Top Four Men’s Racers, All Americans from California, have Chance to Earn First-Ever Crown as World Professional Champion

    BEAVER CREEK, Colo. - August 28, 2007 - Heading into the grand finale of the 2007 Jeep® King of the Mountain summer series on September 1 at Beaver Creek Resort in Beaver Creek, Colo., the only certainty in a season packed with unpredictable outcomes is the fact that never in the history of the Mountain Biking World Professional Championships have the standings been so tight with so many athletes in contention for the crown of World Professional Champion.

    Five pairs of athletes are tied, and no fewer than six competitors have a chance to catch fire in the Rocky Mountains and capture the throne of World Professional Champion for the first time, while also enjoying the spoils of victory with a lion’s share of the $100,000 cash purse and the keys to a new 2008 Jeep Liberty.

    Only 10 points separate the top four men’s racers, all Americans, and no story is more compelling than that of Brian Lopes. The Laguna Beach, Calif., legend, a three-time World Champion, nine-time National Champion and now six-time World Cup Champion, has brought home every trophy imaginable except that of World Professional Champion. He now stands tied for first place in the season standings following a win at the second race of season in San Luis Obispo, Calif., his third ever Jeep King of the Mountain title.

    Lopes knows the crown of World Professional Championship is anything but secure, given the bevy of ultra talented fellow Californians breathing down his neck. Leading the charge is Temecula’s Rich Houseman, a 2006 NORBA Champion, trailed by Eric Carter, also of Temecula, the 2007 National Series Champion and 2006 U.S. National Champion, and Cody Warren of Alpine, a former U.S. National Champion and multiple NORBA titlist. Also in the mix are Australia’s Wade Bootes, the 2004 Jeep King of the Mountain World Professional Champion and 2006 Australian National Champion, fellow Aussie Jared Graves, a 2006 World Cup titlist and two-time NORBA Champion, and Open Qualifier Chris Del Bosco of Vail, Colo., a former USA Cycling National Champion and professional ski racer.

    On the women’s side, Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, the world’s second ranked racer with two World Cup wins in 2007, holds a share of the lead with Melissa Buhl of Chandler, Ariz., the recently crowned U.S. National Champion and former NORBA Champion. There is no shortage of depth behind the top two, including Tara Llanes of Los Alamitos, Calif., the 2006 USA Cycling Downhill National Champion and two-time national four-cross champion; Fionn Griffiths of the U.K., a five-time British National Champion; Leana Gerrard of Bellingham, Wash., a collegiate National Champion and NORBA titlist; and Joanna Petterson of Kauai, Hawaii, the 2006 NORBA Four-Cross Champion. Others to keep an eye on include Open Qualifiers Neven Steinmetz of Boulder, Colo., a member of the U.S. Cycling Team who also races for the University of Colorado, and Lisa Myklak, also of Boulder, who has podium finishes this year at the NORBA Nationals and U.S. National Championships.

    No analysis regarding the battle for mountain biking racing dominance is complete without mention of the Czech Republic’s Michal Prokop and Jill Kintner of Seattle, Wash., each the two-time defending Jeep King of the Mountain World Professional Champion. The pair, after grabbing victories at the first race of the season in Park City, Utah, now rest in sixth and fifth place in their respective standings, and will no doubt be eager to try and earn titles in Beaver Creek while taking down those ranked above them in the process. The seeding runs will be more important than ever before, as no racer will be eager to meet Prokop, the 2006 World Champion and reigning Czech Republic BMX and Mountain Bike National Champion, or Kintner, the world’s number-one ranked racer with two World Cup victories in 2007, in the early stages.

    “Two-time defending champion Michal “Mr. Holeshot” Prokop, who has made a science of dispatching his competitors and has never missed a final in his Jeep King of the Mountain career, could be a major wildcard factor in determining the new World Professional Champion,” said CBS Sports commentator Kevin Delaney, a former U.S. National Champion and World Champion snowboarder. “So too could Jill Kintner, who has six wins in her last seven Jeep King of the Mountain starts. She may meet Anneke Beerten or Melissa Buhl in the semi-finals, thus dictating who leaves Beaver Creek with the crown.”

    World Professional Champions are crowned based on a system of cumulative points earned throughout the Jeep King of the Mountain Series, which includes three races from August to September 2007. The season kicked off at The Canyons in Park City Utah on August 4, before heading to San Luis Obispo, Calif., on August 18.

    Each race of the 2007 Mountain Biking World Professional Championships is televised to a national broadcast audience on CBS Sports, representing the most expansive coverage of professional mountain bike racing in recent history. The race from Beaver Creek Resort will air on CBS Sports on October 21 (check local listings).

    About the Jeep King of the Mountain Series
    The Jeep King of the Mountain was established in 1993. Jeep is the title sponsor for the Jeep King of the Mountain Series. The Mountain Biking World Professional Championships are the sister competition to wintertime’s Skiing & Snowboarding World Professional Championships, now celebrating its 15th season. Other marketing partners for the Jeep King of the Mountain include Bike Magazine, Columbia Sportswear Company, Edge Advanced Shave Gel, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Madonna Inn, Mopar, Nalgene, San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, San Luis Obispo County Visitors Bureau, Utah Sports Commission and Voler. During each race of the World Professional Championships, the athletes will be competing for the right to don the coveted John Paul Mitchell Systems black leader’s jersey, while also accruing points toward a cash bonus at season’s end.

    # # #



    Athlete Race 1 Race 2 Total Points
    Park City, UT SLO, Calif.

    1. Brian Lopes 50 100 150
    1. Rich Houseman 60 90 150
    3. Eric Carter 80 60 140
    3. Cody Warren 70 70 140
    5. Wade Bootes 40 80 120
    6. Michal Prokop 100 - 100
    7. Jared Graves 90 - 90
    8/ Chris Del Bosco - 50 50


    Athlete Race 1 Race 2 Total Points
    Park City, UT SLO, Calif.

    1. Anneke Beerten 80 100 180
    1. Melissa Buhl 90 90 180
    3. Tara Llanes 70 70 140
    3. Fionn Griffiths 60 80 140
    5. Jill Kintner 100 - 100
    5. Leanna Gerrard 50 50 100
    7. Joanna Petterson 30 60 90
    8. Neven Steinmetz - 40 40

    source: Al Sommers
    Sommers Public Relations
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