WORS Cup Pro XCT Report

McConnell and Woodruff Take The PRO XCT Wins in Wisconsin

Report by: Hanna Mork

Portage, WI-

The Wisconsin Off Road Series hosted the Pro Cross Country Tour last weekend at Cascade Mountain in Portage, WI. Mother Nature made sure the heat and humidity was high for the WORS Cup Pro XCT race presented by Trek. The course was of the modern World Cup model, approximately 3.1 miles in length per lap. It wound itself several times to provide spectators with convenient access and numerous viewing points. The pro women had 5 laps of punching climbs and tight corners while the men had 6.

Saturday started out with the pro women racing in the beating sun. Our recently named National Champion Chloe Woodruff (Stans No Tubes/Niner) was able to put in an early lead among the rest of the field with Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) trying to chase her down. Closely behind Henderson was Evelyn Dong (Sho-Air/Cannondale) but after a mechanical Dong was not able to catch Henderson but managed to keep her third place position. After Woodruff developed a gap, she steadily continued to open it, securing her second ever UCI win. After 5 demanding laps, Henderson finished second with Dong finishing 3rd. Just a minute behind Dong finished Larrisa Conners (RidebikerAlliance) and behind her finishing a respective 5th place was Peta Mullens (Sram Yeti Racing).

After a fast and hot start for the pro men, Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) began to pull away from the field. The two competitors were able to work together for the first two laps but then things began to change. According to Ettinger, he wasn’t descending very well which gave McConnell a chance to pull away roughly halfway through the race. McConnell was able to put 2 minutes and 45 seconds between Ettinger and the rest of the field to secure his win with Ettinger finishing second. Behind them, was Hector Fernando Riveros (Raliegh Clement) finishing a respective third place. Together for most of the race was Benjamin Sonntag (Team Clif Bar) and Cameron Ivory (Bike Team Solothurn Switzerland) but in the end, Sonntag put 14 seconds between them to finish 4th with Ivory 5th.

The fun continued on Sunday with the pro men and women Short Track presented by Bontrager. The pro women were off first with a tight group of four. Peta Mullens (SRAM Yeti Racing), Larrisa Conners (RidebikerAlliance), Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing), and Shayna Powells (Liv Co-Factory) were close together until Mullens made her attack. On the third lap of ten, Mullens made her way to the front of the pack and by the fourth lap she developed a small gap. From there on out, she continued to steadily open her gap to steal her first international win of the season. Conners finished just under 30 seconds behind Mullens for second, while Powells grabbed third. Local WORS Pro, Cooper Dende l(Quick Stop Bike Shop) took an impressive fourth while Henderson dropped back to round out the top five.
Mother nature did not let up with the heat for the pro men. A big pack of lead men were together from the start with a couple big names. Current Short Track National Champion Russell Finsterwald (SRAM/ Troy Lee Designs), Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing), and WORS’ own Brian Matte r(KS/Energy Mosh), Cole House, Tristan Schouten (Wolf Prima/Attitude Sports), and Nathan Guerra (Vision Cycling) were just a few in the lead pack. Matter, Finsterwald and House mainly set the tempo of the race each taking turns leading laps but when it came down to the end neither one of them took the title. After the bell rang for the final lap, Matter and House made a couple big moves but it wasn’t enough to keep off McConnell who surged up the last hill to take the win. House and Finsterwald sprinted to the line for second and third place respectively.  Chris Hamilton (Torq Nutrition) finished fourth with Matter rounding out the top five.