The PRO XCT Series headed east this
past weekend to Windham, NY for round seven of the nine race series.
And though a number of top pros missed the race due to scheduling
conflicts, overall contenders Todd Wells (Specialized), Jeremiah
Bishop (Cannondale), and Lea Davison (Specialized) all made the trip
hoping to score valuable points, ensuring top level racing on
Seemingly endless rain in the weeks
leading up the race had many predicting a mud fest. But instead the
skies stayed clear on Friday, and though storm clouds remained
threatening on the horizon, the sun stayed out throughout the day on
Saturday. As a result, racers had to contend with high humidity,
temperatures in the mid eighties, exposed, sun baked climbs, and some
lingering mud in some of the shaded descents.
The pro women kicked off the
festivities, and "local” racer Lea Davison (Specialized) wasted
no time in setting a ferocious tempo up the courses first fire road
climb. With a sizable crew of family and friends cheering her on,
Davison had a clear gap heading into the first short singletrack
section and never looked back, steadily increasing her advantage as
the race progressed.
Amanda Sin (Scott) did her best to
limit the damage and rode well to finish second, but she was never
able to challenge Davison. Behind, New England cyclocross phenom
Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing) showed she's got skills on the
mountain bike too, and rode to a strong third. Erica Tingey (Jamis)
and Haley Smith (Norco) rounded out the podium.
The men's race saw a three way battle
between Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), Todd Wells (Specialized), and
Derek Zandstra (Scott). Many had predicted Howard Grotts
(Specialized), fresh off his first big pro win in Missoula last
weekend, to challenge here too, but a crash on the first lap forced
him to abandon. Instead, it was Bishop and Wells, two veterans of
American racing, off the front early, with Zandstra chasing behind.
Bishop and Wells traded blows until Bishop was able to get a gap on
lap five. "Sometimes when you get a gap you just have to go for
it,” Bishop said after the race. With the Sho-Air Cannondale racer
going all in off the front, Wells, who later admitted he's simply
been beaten, was struggling. That left an opening for the hard
charging Zandstra to close the gap and ride into second.
In the end, Bishop was able to secure
the win and put himself in position to win the PRO XCT overall with
two rounds remaining. Zandstra took second, while Wells rolled in for
third. Behind the leading trio, local hero Justin Lindine (Redline)
was having one of his best pro cross country races ever, riding in
sixth. And while he just missed the podium, a clearly happy Lindine
was cheered all the way to the line by local fans.
Stephan Ettinger (BMC) and Antoine
Caron (Specialized) rounded out the pro men's podium.
The PRO XCT Series now heads to
Wisconsin before the final round at the Catamount Family Center in