US Cup – Williston, VT

US Cup-XC-Blevins and Courtney keep on rolling.

The third round of US Cup-XC stormed into Williston, Vermont over the weekend, as the battle rages on over the $20,000 series payout for the men’s and women’s champion.

At the first two rounds in spring, the duo of Chris Blevins (Specialized) and Kate Courtney (Specialized) have shown there is a youth movement taking place in cross-country in the United States. The two have ridden brilliantly over more experienced and established rivals and continued their winning ways in Vermont at the Eastern Grind.

Nikki Peterson on the XC course. Photo by: PB Creative

Cross Country

In Saturdays women’s race, it was quickly whittled down to a three-rider duel when Kate Courtney (Specialized), Lea Davison (Clif Pro) and Rose Grant (NoTubes/Pivot) separated themselves from the women’s field.

Coming off really good spring form in the World Cups, Courtney began turning the screws on lap two and opened up a forty second gap on Davison.  From there, Kate went untouched and pulled away over the next couple laps, soloing in for her second US Cup-CX victory and extending her lead in the US Cup Series points chase.

Lea Davison (Clif Pro) using some “home” knowledge finished in second place, with Rose Grant (NoTubes/Pivot), Tina Severson (Orange Seal) and Kelsey Urban (Whole Athlete) rounding out the women’s top 5.

“This course was SO fun,” exclaimed Courtney following her win. “This is great preparation for nationals next weekend.”

Kate Courtney crosses the finish line for the win. Photo by: PB Creative

“You had to be paying attention the whole time.” commented third place Rose Grant. “This course was great preparation for nationals, I had a blast.”

The men’s XC race went off with some fireworks right off the start, as Todd Wells slipped a pedal right out of the blocks and had to play catch up early.  Luckily all riders got through clean with team Specialized taking control of the race early.

Howard Grotts rolls in for the win. Photo by: PB Creative

Up front reigning XC national champ Howard Grotts (Specialized) was in control over his teammate Christopher Blevins (Specialized) and current CX national champion Stephen Hyde (Cannondale P/BCyclocrossworld.com).  However, Grotts would burp a tire late on lap one and have to limp into the tech zone giving away valuable time to Blevins, Hyde and a charging Todd Wells.

For the next three out of six laps, Wells continued to close the gap on Blevins and was within striking distance on the last lap.  But Blevins had gaged his effort just right and went on to a twenty second victory over Wells, Hyde, Felix Longpre (MSA) and Nick Lando (Eliteendurance.com)

I felt really good today.” expressed Grotts post-race.  “It’s a shame I had that issue with my tire on lap one, that put me out of the hunt.”

“I just had to be patient out there and gage my effort.” said race winner Christopher Blevins. “Todd (Wells) is so good on these types of courses, he just keeps the power rolling and I knew he was charging hard.”

“I was a mess on that start,” explained Todd Wells. “I was laying on my tube tube after I slipped a pedal.  I got into the woods about 9th and from there just picked guys off.  I could see Chris right there on the last lap, but in the end just gave away a little too much time in the beginning to close the deal.”

Start of the men’s short track event. Photo by: PB Creative

Short Track:

New day, but the same faces emerged at the front of the women’s short track race.  Kate Courtney, Rose Grant and Lea Davison all found themselves with separation from the women’s group early on.

In the end, Courtney was solid again and soloed in for the win, her second on the weekend! However, the battle for second place came down to a sprint finish that was won by Rose Grant (Notubes/Pivot) over Lea Davison (Clif Bar).  Elle Anderson put in a solid ride for fourth, and Kelsey Urbnan had another great day and rounded out the podium with a 5th.

Not to be outdone by his teammates, Howard Grotts took revenge on Sunday’s short track to take the win by almost a minute.  Grotts is looking on point to defend his title next weekend at USA Cycling Nationals in West Virginia.

Christopher Blevins, US Cup series leader took a close second over Stephen Hyde, while Nick Lando and Alex Meucci (Bents cycling/Atomik Carbon/Maxxis/Vittoria) rounded out the top 5.

**Series finals take place on July 29th and 30th in Boston, where the men’s and women’s champions will be crowned and awarded $10,000.00 respectivley.  The Boston Rebellion is a U.C.I. HC event.

More Info:  www.uscup.net

Gallery

US Cup Finals – Colorado Springs, CO

Gagne and Pendrel win final round and overall of 2015 US Cup in Colorado Springs

Canadians Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) and Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) won the final round of the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series presented by Cannondale in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The wins gave both the overall 2015 US Cup titles as well.

Elite women

A 40-strong field of the top women in North America toed the line for the 2015 US Cup finale, including six National Champions from six different countries:  Canada, USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Columbia, Ecuador. Chloe Woodruff (Team Stans NoTubes) took hole-shot and set the early pace on the first lap. Later on that same lap, Catherine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) moved past Woodruff and only teammate Katerina Nash could follow. These two would stay off the front for the majority of the race.

Chloe Woodruff (Team Stans NoTubes) and Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox) led the chase group, which ballooned and shrunk over and over again with Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance), Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), and Rose Grant (Team Stans NoTubes) all coming back to them before being dropped.

In the end, things were all decided on the final quarter lap when the lead group split in half and the chasing group was shattered. Pendrel attacked Nash within the final mile to win solo by just 15 seconds. The rest of the field staggered in one at a time, evidence of just how hard the racing had been.

Further evidence of the difficulty was that as the temps rose from the high 70’s to the low 90’s, the womens’ lap times slowed from 15 to over 17 minutes throughout the day. The wind also picked up and made for a tough headwind on the long climb.

Series leader Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) started and rode in the main chase group for the first ten minutes, but pulled out and was a DNF on the first lap, apparently with difficulty breathing.

 

Elite men

The Elite men started in the high heat and Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) took the lead shortly after the first corner and didn’t let off the gas all day. After one lap, only Russell Finsterwald (SRAM / Troy Lee Designs) and Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) were left on his wheel.

Gagne sat 3rd wheel and rarely took a pull, while Finsterwald moved to the front on a few descents but never was able to create any separation. By lap two a four-man chase group had formed consisting of Geoff Kabush and Derek Zandstra (both Scott 3 Rox Racing) and Keegan Swenson and Stephen Ettinger (both Team Sho-Air / Cannondale). It was Kabush who did the lion’s share of the work in this group for most of the six-lap race, while the Sho-Air / Cannondale duo looked under pressure in the group and were eventually dropped.

With one lap to go, the lead three slowed as Wells sat up and the gap came down to just fifteen seconds. Kabush took off in pursuit of the leaders but Gagne attacked hard with just one kilometer to go and took Wells and Finsterwald with him, eventually taking the win by just a few seconds.

Wells and Finsterwald had a tight sprint for second place that the officials gave to Finsterwald. Wells was clearly upset after the race and filed an official complaint with the UCI. They did not change their ruling and the result stood.

Click Here for full pro women’s results

Click Here for full pro men’s results

Colorado Springs cross country brief results

Elite women

1 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team 1:34:48
2 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team 1:35:02
3 Erin Huck (United States) Scott 3 Rox 1:36:35
4 Chloe Woodruff (United States) Team Stans NoTubes 1:37:18
5 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team 1:37:41

Elite men

1 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles; 1:36:28
2 Russell Finsterwald (United States) SRAM / TLD Race Team; 1:36:29
3 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Factory Racing; 1:36:29
4 Geoff Kabush (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 1:36:30
5 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing 1:36:44

USA Cycling US Cup Series Final Standings

Elite women

1 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team; 175 points
2 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team; 144 points
3 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing; 140 points
4 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team; 138 points
5 Erin Huck (United States) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 130 points

Elite men

1 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles; 175 points
2 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 94 points
3 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Factory Racing; 91 points
4 Stephen Ettinger (United States) Sho-Air/Cannondale; 91 points
5 Sergio Mantecon (Spain) Trek Factory Racing; 91 points

Schurter Lives Up To Expectations, Batty Takes Her Second US CUP Win This Year

Round three of the USA Cycling US CUP presented by Cannondale was raced on a near-perfect Southern California day and produced worthy winners in Emily Batty and three-time World Champion Nino Schurter.

Elite Women

Luna Pro Cycling’s Georgia Gould got hole shot in the women’s race, with Specialized’s Lea Davison charging hard just behind. The women flew around the start loop and headed out for the first of six laps. Scott ODLO’s Swedish National Champion Jenny Rissveds was first to attack and establish a commanding lead over the chasing group which contained the Luna Pro contingent of Gould, Katerina Nash and Katharine Pendrel, along with Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox) and Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance).

By the second lap, with Rissveds still out front, the chase group began to come apart under the stress of an attacking Pendrel, who continued to apply pressure on the climbs. At this point the chasers were reduced to just Pendrel, Batty, Nash and Huck. Pendrel and Batty continued to attack putt the others in trouble. At the end of lap two, Pendrel put in another effort which brought back Rissveds back at the start of lap three.

Midway through the race, the front group was whittled down to just Pendrell, Batty and Huck, establishing a nice lead as they entered the infield loop at the end of lap three. Pressure on the climbs saw off Huck, as Pendrel and Batty built up a commanding lead that would last until lap five. The leaders sat up for a breath, which enabled Huck to come close to rejoining, followed again by Rissveds. Just as they were about to make contact, Pendrel put in another hard effort to build up another gap on Huck during the descent, Batty again on her wheel.

The two leaders (Pendrel and Batty) seemed content to face off in a finish line sprint, where Batty made a crafty move just past the final left hand turn to come around Pendrel in a tight sprint for the win. Rissveds made it in for third, followed by Gould and Huck.

“I’ve worked so hard leading up to this,“ said an thrilled Batty after the sprint. “Hats off to Catharine for not making it easy! I really just had fun with it, throwing the rhythm off and dictating how I wanted it to go. I threw an attack in the corner and left it all out there.”

Pro women's podium - photo by RibeBiker Alliance

Pro women’s podium – photo by RibeBiker Alliance

Elite Men

Cannondale Factory Racing’s Henrique Avancini continued the team’s fast starts by taking the early lead after the start lap and heading into the first full lap. Three-time World Champion Nino Schurter (Scott-ODLO Mtb Racing Team) took over, standing up and attacking on the first pass of the steep gravel climb. With Schurter taking the early lead, only New Zealander Sam Gaze was able to match the Swiss Champion. Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air/Cannondale), Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) and Sergio Mantecon (Trek Factory Racing) made up the early chase group. The race settled into this situation for the next few laps, with Schurter maintaining and even extending his lead up to a maximum of thirty seconds.

By the end of the fourth lap of seven, Mantecon and Gagne began to work together and slowly pull back Schurter’s lead. The chase worked and the chasers made contact on lap five after Schurter changed a rear flat. Unfortunately for Mantecon and Gagne, Schurter capitalized on the extra effort spent in the chase and pulled away with ease toward the start of the penultimate lap. Tired from the chase, Mantecon and Gagne fought hard to keep the Swiss Champion in their sights, only to see Schurter take the win convincingly.

Nino Schurter crosses the line - photo by RibeBiker Alliance

Nino Schurter crosses the line – photo by RibeBiker Alliance

“It was a super tough course out there,“ said Schurter at the finish. “You have to be really careful in cornering. One mistake and you’re crashing. I like the shorter climbs so it was a perfect course for me.”

USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group series standings

After round three of the USA Cycling US Cup presented by Cannondale series, Gagne takes over the lead convincingly after his second win of the series, while Batty retakes the lead in the womens’ series ahead of Pendrel.

The USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group series will continue with round 4, a UCI Category C3 race, at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterrey, California on Saturday, April 18.

Bonelli Park 2 cross country brief results

Elite women

1 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing; 1:32:22
2 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team; 1:32:23
3 Jenny Rissveds (Sweden) Scott-ODLO Mtb Racing Team; 1:32:39
4 Erin Huck (United States) Scott 3 Rox; 1:32:42
5 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team; 1:33:44

Elite men

1 Nino Schurter (Switzerland) Scott-ODLO Mtb Racing Team; 1:30:21
2 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles; 1:30:26
3 Sergio Mantecon (Spain) Trek Factory Racing; 1:30:43
4 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 1:28:56
5 Stephen Ettinger (United States) Sho-Air/Cannondale Mtb Racing Team; 1:31:59

USA Cycling US Cup Series Standings after two rounds

Elite women

1 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing; 114 points
2 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team; 95 points
3 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team; 90 points
4 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team; 90 points
4 Erin Huck (United States) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 77 points

Elite men

1 Raphael Gagne (Canada) Rocky Mountain Bicycles; 104 points
2 Sergio Mantecon (Spain) Trek Factory Racing; 83 points
3 Anton Cooper (New Zealand) Cannondale Factory Racing; 75 points
4 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott 3 Rox Racing; 66 points
5 Adam Morka (Canada) Trek Canada; 64 points

 

USA Cycling’s US CUP Returns to Bonelli Park for Round 3

Three-time World Champion Nino Schurter Expected to Line Up

The USA Cycling’s US CUP presented by Cannondale returns to Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California this Saturday, April 11, after two exciting rounds of cross country racing action. Interest in the US CUP is higher than ever, with a men’s field expected to exceed 150, and a women’s field that should reach upwards of 80, numbers not seen in years.

For this UCI HC event, a modified version of the Bonelli Park Round 1 C1 course will test athletes with new obstacles. While much-needed and expected rain could make the course perfect for a weekend of hard racing, Sho-Air Cycling Group is not taking any chances, adding 12,000 gallons of reclaimed water on Monday, with another application scheduled for later in the week to ensure optimal course conditions.

The US CUP has consistently attracted a top field of racers, but the Bonelli Park 2 race will feature a top name in world mountain biking. Past U23 and two-time Elite World Champion Nino Schurter (Scott ODLO Mtb Racing) is scheduled to race the event, an addition that is sure to generate excitement from the fans and more than a little anxiety in the men’s field.

“There will be some great new features on the course that should keep things interesting,” said Scott Tedro, Sho-Air President and RideBiker founder. “The racing has been fantastic so far and I am thrilled that a three-time world champion like Nino is coming to race at Bonelli. It just shows how much interest the US CUP is getting from all over the world.”

 

Free video coverage schedule announced

Video coverage of the US CUP Round 3 will be streamed live online. The Elite Womens’ race will start at 11:00am PST followed by the Elite Men at 1:30pm PST. The race will be viewable at www.uscup.netwww.uscup.tv and also at a dedicated page under USA Cycling’s YouTube channel.

“The production quality of the US CUP races being put out by Ridebiker Alliance is outstanding,” said Micah Rice, Vice President of National Events for USA Cycling.  “The visuals are impressive, the racing action is great and it feels like you’re watching a World Cup!”

Emily Batty tries to hunt down race leader Katerina Nash. Catharine Pendrel, Georgia Gould, and Erin Huck follow - Photo RideBiker Alliance

Emily Batty tries to hunt down race leader Katerina Nash. Catharine Pendrel, Georgia Gould, and Erin Huck follow – Photo RideBiker Alliance

The Womens’ Field

Katerina Nash, winner of Round 2 at Fontana City, is currently in the overall leaders’ jersey by way of winning the higher-valued HC race in Fontana City. Her teammates Georgia Gould (3rd) and Catharine Pendrel (4th) follow Round 1 winner Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) in second. Chloe Woodruff (Team Stan’s NoTubes-Niner) rounds out the overall podium in fifth.

Outsider and surprise of the first two rounds, Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance) is the only other rider to appear on a women’s podium this season. Connors will look for a repeat performance that saw her shoot to the front with the lead group in Bonelli 1, to the surprise and delight of many.

Cooper takes the lead over Gagne - Photo RideBiker Alliance

Cooper takes the lead over Gagne – Photo RideBiker Alliance

The Mens’ Field

Round 2 winner and overall men’s leader Anton Cooper (Cannondale Factory Racing) will not be present in Bonelli, opting for a different build up to the World Cup season. Bonelli 1 winner Raphael Gagne has confirmed a change in his schedule that will allow him to dispute the remainder of the series and go for the overall title.

Cannondale’s Marco Aurelio Fontana and Manuel Fumic will also scratch from Bonelli 2, leaving Brazilian teammate, 2015 Pan American Mtb Champion and multiple times Brazilian national champion Henrique Avancini to fill some big shoes.

Trek Factory Racing’s Sergio Mantecon is another consistent threat, having finished on the podium in each of the first two rounds.

Sho-Air/Cannondale’s Max Plaxton will look to improve on his second-placed finish in round one, while his young teammates Keegan Swenson and Stephen Ettinger will seek to build on rising form that saw Swenson take third place at the Pan American Mountain Bike Championships.

US CUP stalwart Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), James Reid (Trek RECM), Derek Zandstra and 2014 US CUP winner Geoff Kabush (both Scott 3 Rox Racing) can never be counted out as well, and we could see any of them or many others atop the podium Saturday afternoon.

UCI Junior Races

New for the 2015 US CUP Series is that Bonelli Park #2, Round 3 will also include a UCI Junior race category for both men and women. The Junior XCO race will be held at 4:30pm Saturday, with more valuable UCI points and payout on offer.

Saturday, April 11 Bonelli Park Race Schedule, all times Pacific Daylight Time / Local California Time

11h00 – 11h15 PDT: Elite women cross country – staging and call-up
11h15 – 13h15 PDT: Elite women cross country race
13h30 – 13h45 PDT: Elite men cross country – staging and call-up
13h45 – 15h45 PDT: Elite men cross country race
15h50 – 16h00 PDT: Elite women and men cross country podium ceremony
16h15 – 16h30 PDT: UCI Junior Women and Men – staging and call-up
16h30 – 17h40 PDT: UCI Junior Women and Men XCO Race

Nash and Wells race to convincing Short Track Cross Country wins at USA Cycling’s US CUP Round 2 at Fontana City

Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) won the short track cross country races at the USA Cycling’s US Cup Pro Series presented by Cannondale at Southridge Park in Fontana City, California, on Sunday afternoon. The race wrapped up an exciting weekend of racing and saw riders heading to all corners of the globe in preparation for World Cup events or the next US CUP round in three weeks, the Sea Otter Classic.

Katerina Nash finishes with a sweep of the weekend's events in Fontana - Photo RideBiker Alliance

Katerina Nash finishes with a sweep of the weekend’s events in Fontana – Photo RideBiker Alliance

Elite women

The 31-strong field of women’s racers lined up for fifteen minutes plus three laps of a dusty course that featured a pair of tricky bumps on the far side. Trek Factory Racing’s Emily Batty was crafty in shooting under the charging Luna Pro Team on the first turn to take the hole shot. After the first fast lap, it was all strung out with the Luna Pro Team leading the way.

Lap two saw Chloe Woodruff (Stans No-Tubes-Niner) lead through the start/finish line, with Haley Smith (NORCO Factory Team) in second. One lap later, the Luna girls reclaimed their place at the front, with Catharine Pendrel and Georgia Gould being joined by teammate Andrea Waldis, who was doing some fine teamwork for her leaders. Behind them were Smith, Batty, Woodruff and Rose Grant (Stans No-Tubes).

A general regrouping took place on lap four with one notable exception as Gould flatted and withdrew from the race. Things heated up two laps later and showed the determination of the field, as some bumping occurred at the front on that first left-hander after the start/finish line.

With just two laps to go, the front group grew to fifteen riders, all battling it out for the win. On the penultimate lap, Nash and Batty made their selection, charging hard to establish the winning break. The field exploded at that point, with riders being strung out for the remainder of the race.

In the final run to the line, Nash charged to the win over Batty in an exciting and hard-fought sprint, with Woodruff, Grant and Caroline Mani (Raleigh Clement Cycling Team) filling out the podium.

“This is such exciting racing for us, where we can all race so close together,” explained Nash. “I was in the right place at the right time, just like yesterday, so it was a good weekend for me. I knew I was in a good position when I was third at the top. There are so few places to pass here but I found my spot and was able to take the win!”

Todd Wells stands atop the pro men's STXC podium - Photo RideBiker Alliance

Todd Wells stands atop the pro men’s STXC podium – Photo RideBiker Alliance

Elite men

The men’s race was also fifteen minutes plus three laps.

Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycels) showed yet another sign of his great form, taking the hole shot as the large men’s field kicked up a dust storm at the start. Unfortunately, the Canadian rider had some bad luck and went down in the first hectic lap, which created a gap and the eventual winning move.  Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), Kohei Yamamoto (Trek Factory Racing) and Russell Finsterwald (SRAM/LTD Racing Team) were the beneficiaries of the resulting gap, and these first two remained out front for the remainder of the race.

By the third lap, the gap to the chasing group was at eight seconds. Halfway through the fifteen minutes, Wells put in a huge effort at the start/finish line and attempted the solo break. Two laps later, his lead was up to fourteen seconds, which he more or less held onto until the final lap allowed him to ease up a bit. With four laps to go, Finsterwald was replaced in the first chase duo by Yamamoto’s Trek teammate Sergio Mantecon. This group was chased by Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air/Cannondale), Leandre Bouchard (Equite Quebec), and Estonian Martin Loo.

Wells kept the pressure on and cruised the last lap in to take a commanding win of the short track event. Trek Factory Racing’s Mantecon preceded his teammate and Japanese sensation Yamamoto, while Bouchard was followed in by Cole Oberman (Rare Disease Cycling).

“I heard a big crash on the first lap where there’s a blown out hump in a bottom corner and someone washed out there,” said Wells. “I got a separation with Kohei and Finsty and could tell I was gapping them a little bit on the downhill so I hit it. I looked up and we were only like six minutes into the race! I’m a steady rider so it was better for me to ride at my tempo. If I can get there by myself, I don’t have to follow the surges so it was better for me to ride steady by myself.”

US CUP Video Feed

A reminder that Saturday’s professional races are available for viewing at www.uscup.tv as well as on USA Cycling’s youtube channel.

Fontana City short track cross country brief results

Elite women

1 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team 21:47.26
2 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing 21:47.60
3 Chloe Woodruff (United States) Team Stans NoTubes – Niner) 21:48.24
4 Rose Grant (United States) Stans NoTubes Elite 21:50.21
5 Catroline Mani (United States) Raleigh Clement Cycling Team 21:53.24

Elite men

1 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Factory Racing; 20:14.45
2 Sergio Mantecon (Spain) Trek Factory Racing; 20:27.36
3 Kohei Yamamoto (Japan) Trek Factory Racing; 20:33.36
4 Leandre Bouchard (Equipe Quebec); 20:34.11
5 Cole Oberman (United States) Rare Disease Cycling; 20:36.83

Nash and Cooper take the wins at USA Cycling US CUP Round 2 at Fontana City

Day’s winners take overall US CUP leads as well

Fontana City, California – March 21, 2015:  Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) and Anton Cooper (Cannondale Factory Racing) won round 2 of the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series presented by Cannondale at Southridge Park in Fontana City, California.

Elite women

Technical problems caused in part by cellular interference from the nearby NASCAR race made for blind coverage of the women’s race early on. A fast start lap created a huge gap, which was driven by the Luna Pro Team as Pendrel, Nash and Gould, along with Round 1 winner Batty set the early pace. After the initial leveling off after the first climb, these front leaders left a large gap to Chloe Woodruff (Team Stan’s NoTubes-Niner) and Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance).

Emily Batty tries to hunt down race leader Katerina Nash. Catharine Pendrel, Georgia Gould, and Erin Huck follow - Photo RideBiker Alliance

Emily Batty tries to hunt down race leader Katerina Nash. Catharine Pendrel, Georgia Gould, and Erin Huck follow – Photo RideBiker Alliance

An easing on the second lap of five allowed Connors and Woodruff to rejoin the leaders on the day’s main climb, only for Pendrel to put in a vicious attack, forcing Batty to respond.

Seemingly trying to force Batty to chase, the end of the second lap saw Pendrel continuing her attacks on Batty, with teammate Gould holding on, with Woodruff and Nash chasing further back. Just like on the first lap, the lead group eased up on the climb, allowing the front group to grow back up to eight.

Katerina Nash off the front on the last lap in Fontana - Photo RideBiker Alliance

Katerina Nash off the front on the last lap in Fontana – Photo RideBiker Alliance

The next two laps resulted in the further solidifying of the front group. Lap three featured a selection made by Gould on the main descent with Batty and Pendrel.  Nash clawed her way back to the front group at the end of the third lap only to take the lead of the race on the fourth time up the climb.  Another fierce attack by Pendrel was chased down by Batty and you got the sense that the team tactics were taking their toll on the Canadian winner of round one. At the end of the fourth lap, Batty, who was sitting second behind Nash, had some trouble on one of the dusty drops and went down. The crash wasn’t enough to cause any serious damage, but it enabled Nash to get a gap big enough to defend until the finish.

Gould would take the sprint for second ahead of Batty and Pendrel, with Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox) rounding out the podium just behind in fifth.

“I was unaware of what was going on. I was up front and I got a gap so I assumed there was a problem,” said the day’s winner Nash. “I fully expected Emily to come back but once I got the gap I pinned it all the way until the end. I used my downhill skills and made gravity work for me.”

“It was a total battle out there, trying to sit second wheel,” said Batty. “There were three of them so it would’ve been pretty disappointing if they didn’t get it.”

Raphael Gagne was unable to shake New Zealander Anton Cooper in Fontana - Photo RideBiker Alliance

Raphael Gagne was unable to shake New Zealander Anton Cooper in Fontana – Photo RideBiker Alliance

Elite men

The men were scheduled to race six laps of the dusty and rocky course. The 120-strong field kicked up the fine dust on the trail as they strung out in a sprint for the base of the first climb. In a sign of his form, Cannondale’s Kiwi Anton Cooper took the hole shot for yet another strong start. Series leader Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) took over shortly afterward with Geoff Kabush (Scott 3 Rox) second wheel.

Hitting the pavement first was Gagne, followed by Kabush, Cooper, Fontana (both Cannondale Factory Racing), Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), Ettinger (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Italian Andrea Tiberi (FRM Factory).

Fontana dabbed on a tricky spot, creating a gap to third place that didn’t last long enough to cause any major drama. Kabush would be the next to allow the early pace get the best of him, as he too hit the dirt. Six riders would come together toward the end of the first lap: Gagne, Cooper, Kabush, Wells, Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Fontana.

Tiberi, Fontana and teammate Manuel Fumic joined the lead group on the second time up the road climb, making a lead group of nine, chased by a courageous Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Cannondale), who was battling a gruesome blister on his foot.

Cooper would be the first to put in a significant attack on the third lap. Gagne bridged back up, followed by Tiberi. On lap four, Tiberi dropped from this group as Cooper and Gagne pulled away on the rolling rocky section. The leaders showed no signs of tiring, as the fourth lap was the fastest to that point! The two leaders continued to pull away, followed by teammates Fumic and Fontana, with Tiberi, Wells and Mantecon each trying to chase back on.

Cannondale duo Marco Fontana and Manuel Fumic chased the leaders most of the day - Photo RideBiker Alliance

Cannondale duo Marco Fontana and Manuel Fumic chased the leaders most of the day – Photo RideBiker Alliance

The two leaders held their ground for the remainder of the race, with Fontana and Fumic solidifying their podium spots but content to let their young teammate fight it out for the win. Cooper’s decisive attack came midway through the last lap as he distanced himself on the final time up the asphalt climb. Cooper held and then extended his lead through the rolling and twisty singletrack to win by eleven seconds over Gagne, with Fumic and Fontana preceding Mantecon.

“What a way to finish off this first part of the season,” said Cooper at the finish. “And after last week, it’s great to come away with the win. Having Manny and Marco on the podium with me makes it even better. Now, I head home and start ramping up for the World Cup.”

“Good job to Anton. He’s a super-tough guy,” said Gagne at the finish. “I felt stronger today than last week, so I’m real happy with my race. The course was great, I really liked it.”

USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group series standings

After round two of the USA Cycling US Cup presented by Cannondale series, Cooper takes over the lead ahead of Gagne by virtue of the higher points on offer at the HC race, while Nash leads the womens’ series ahead of Batty.

The USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group series will continue with round 3, a UCI Category HC race, with a return to Bonelli Park in San Dimas , California on Saturday, April 11.

USA Cycling’s US CUP continues with Round 2 at Fontana City

LIVE video stream coverage announced

For the second straight weekend, Southern California will host a selection of the world’s best cross country racers as the USA Cycling’s US CUP Series presented by Cannondale continues with Round 2 in Fontana City.

Round 1 winners Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) and Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) will look to defend their lead in the overall rankings, as the Fontana race will be a UCI HC category race, offering higher UCI points, series points and a richer prize purse than the first round in Bonelli Park.

“I’m really happy with how I went against such a strong international field in Bonelli and am proud to wear the leader’s jersey going into Fontana,” said Gagne. “I placed two spots better in Fontana than Bonelli last year, so I hope to be up front again. The long climb suits me, and the descent on the back side is real fun so it’s going to be another good weekend.”

Women’s revelation Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance), 4th in Bonelli, was characteristically enthusiastic about heading into Fontana City. “I’m so excited to race again this weekend. Last week was an incredible rush, to race up front with the best girls in the world. I’m ready to go out there and give it another go. The response to my ride at Bonelli was just incredible. Now I just have to put my head down, do the work, turn the legs and try to get up there again!”

 

Free video coverage schedule announced

Ridebiker Alliance is proud to announce that video coverage of USA Cycling’s US CUP presented by Cannondale Round 2 will be aired live, with a one-hour condensed highlight reel featuring advertising and special offers from our sponsors to air beginning Wednesday afternoon. Both the live feed and highlight reel will be viewable at www.uscup.net, www.uscup.tv and also at a dedicated page under USA Cycling’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mor60tvPq9s.

 

The elite men’s contenders

Men’s leader and Round 1 winner Raphael Gagne stayed in Southern California to prepare for his defence in Fontana City. He will face a determined field of top talent trying to knock him out of the lead, including fellow Canadian Max Plaxton, who fought hard in Bonelli Park.

Cannondale Factory Racing is one team that showed itself at the front of the Bonelli Park race and will want to continue that trend at Fontana. Both Marco Aurelio Fontana and Manuel Fumic took their turns in the race lead, but it was young Anton Cooper who would finish on the podium (third) with a very consistent ride.

Continuing down the Bonelli results, the next three riders are aboard Trek Bicycles and all will be fighting to move up in the rankings on Saturday. James Reid from Trek RECM was a bit of a surprise to some, but will be out to prove he belongs at the front of the race in Fontana. Reid finished in the top twenty in Fontana in 2014 and his fourth at Bonelli on Saturday is reason to believe he on fine form. Sergio Mantecon was second in Bonelli and sixth in Fontana last year and currently lies in fifth while teammate Adam Morka lies in sixth place.

Scott 3 Rox Racing’s Canadian duo of Derek Zandstra and Geoff Kabush are next in the overall, while some big names such as Fumic, Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), Russell Finsterwald (SRAM/TLD Race Team), Keegan Swenson and Stephen Ettinger (both Sho-Air / Cannondale) will look to improve upon their Bonelli Park results.

 

The elite women’s contenders

The Luna Pro Team led by Catharine Pendrel, Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash will be out to reclaim the top podium spot after they were unable to shake a determined and in-form Emily Batty at Bonelli Park. Larissa Connors is out to prove that Saturday’s fourth place was no fluke while top contenders Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox), Evelyn Dong (Sho-Air / Cannondale), Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team) and Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes Elite Women) will be determined to displace Batty, the Luna duo of Pendrel and Gould, Connors and Chloe Woodruff (Stans NoTubes/Niner) from their podium spots.

 

UCI Junior Races

New for the 2015 US CUP Series is that the Fontana City Round will also include a UCI Junior race category for both men and women. The Junior XCO race will be held at 8:30 Saturday morning, with valuable UCI points and payout on offer.

 

Saturday, March 21 Fontana City Race Schedule, all times Pacific Daylight Time / Local California Time

08h30 – 09h40 PDF: UCI Junior women and men cross country – staging and call-up

11h00 – 11h15 PDT: Elite women cross country – staging and call-up
11h15 – 13h15 PDT: Elite women cross country race
13h30 – 13h45 PDT: Elite men cross country – staging and call-up
13h45 – 15h45 PDT: Elite men cross country race
15h50 – 16h00 PDT: Elite women and men cross country podium ceremony