Colin Cares (Boulder, Colo./Kenda-Felt) and Zephanie Blasi (Vail, Ariz./WXC World Racing) took over the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) lead after finishing second in last weekend’s US Cup Triple Crown – Bonelli Park. Both riders move into the top spots after combining silver with a 13th-place finish in last week’s Mellow Johnny’s Classic.
With his absence Max Plaxton (CAN/Specialized Racing) fell into a points deadlock with Raphael Gagne (Rocky MTN Factory), but retained second place due to his victory at Mellow Johnny’s. A similar scenario on the women’s side shows Catharine Pendrel (CAN/Team Luna Chix) holding on to second place in the Pro XCT standings over Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo./Tokoyo Joe’s). The Subaru-Trek squad and the Kenda/Felt Pro MTB Team moved into one and two on the team standings after a strong showing at Bonelli.
US Cup Triple Crown – Bonelli Park
The second of five 2012 events on the Pro XCT, Bonelli saw a host of new faces at the front of the pack, and first time winners in both fields with the absence of many of last week’s top ten riders opting to prepare for the upcoming world cup next weekend in South Africa. In the women’s race, local Allison Mann (Muretta, Calif./Sho-Air-Specialized) made the best of home track knowledge and rode away to a convincing solo win to earn the first Pro XCT victory of her career. Behind Mann, a see-saw battle finally broke apart late in the five-lap race with Blasi racing ahead for silver. Huck, Jamie Busch (Los Gatos, Calif.) and Andreanne Pichette (CAN/Opus-OGC-Equipe Queb) who was the first U23 women’s rider on the day, rounded out the top five.
In the Elite men’s race, nearly 70 men rolled to the line to do battle in the heat of the unseasonably warm day. Mexico’s Ignacio Torres (Turbo) grabbed the bull by the horns leading the first lap. In pursuit was Torres’ teammate Emmanuel Valencia (MEX/Turbo), chased by Cannondale’s Alex Grant (Salt Lake City, Utah), Sho-Air/Specialized Brendon Davids (RSA) and Cares. Davids was the first to make a mistake, as a dropped chain late into lap one put the young rider back outside the top 10. Meanwhile, Torres began to extend his lead pushing a furious pace.
On the third of six laps riders began to spread as the hot weather and technical course took its toll. Meanwhile Torres quietly extended his lead, looking comfortable and cruising to a 20 second victory and his first Pro XCT win. Cares followed in second, followed by a surging Gagne, Valencia and young Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, N.C./BMC MTB Dev. Team) who rounded out the top five, and earned the title of top U23 rider.
Pro XCT standings
After the two of five events Cares and Blasi hold narrow leads the men’s and women’s standings with Subaru-Trek the new team leader.
USA Cycling Pro XCT Standings:
1.Colin Cares (Boulder, Colo./Kenda-Felt) -240
2. Max Plaxton (CAN/Specialized Racing) – 200
3. Raphael Gagne (Rocky MTN Factory) – 200
4. Geoff Kabush (CAN/Scott-3Rox Racing) – 190
5. Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing) – 180
1. Zaphanie Blasi (Vail, Ariz./WXC World Racing) -200
2. Catherine Pendrel (CAN/Team LUNA Chix) – 200
3. Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo./Tokoyo Joe’s) – 200
4. Judy Freeman (Littleton, Colo./Crankbrothers Race Club) – 190 points
5. Monique Mata (Westminister, Calif./Sho-air-Specialized) – 180
1. Subaru-Trek – 55
2. Kenda/Felt Pro MTB Team – 51
3. Team Luna Chix – 46
4. BMC Mountain Bike Development Team – 46
5. Specialized Racing – 45
For complete standings, visit the Pro XCT’s official webpage at usacycling.org/proxct.
The Pro XCT will return to action June 16 with the Ute Valley Pro XCT powered by Rotor Bike USA, the third of five stops on the 2012 calendar.
Source: Andrea Smith