Houffalize, Belgium (April 15, 2012) — Junior Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Cannondale Factory Racing) earned the bronze medal in the junior men’s cross-country competition to turn in the top American performance of round two of the 2012 RockyRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano in Houffalize, Belgium over the weekend. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo. /Luna Pro Team) and Stephen Ettinger (Cashmere, Wash. /BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team) turned the top elite cross-country performance for the Americans against the world’s best.
“It was a cold overcast day and the race was run over a course that had many sharp climbs and technical drops with a very circuitous lap that felt like a long cyclo-cross course,” explained USA Cycling Mountain Bike & Cyclo-cross Director, Marc Gullickson. “Very large fields representing the strongest riders across Europe and the world were on hand for this classic Belgian World Cup.”
Twenty-two year-old Ettinger proved his solid performance in his elite debut in South Africa’s round one was no fluke, this time turning the top American result in the elite men’s cross country contest. His 36th place finish saw him cross the line just over six and a half minutes behind winner Julien Absalon (FRA/Orbea).
“I knew I could be up at the front of this race. I knew I had that race in me but to have it all come together was great,” said Ettinger, riding his second world cup as an elite. “It makes the Olympic bid come that much closer.”
Another young elite rider, Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont. /Subaru-Trek) came in alongside Ettinger in 37th place. 2008 Olympian and reigning national champion Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing) was 45th after winning the Pan Am continental championship last weekend. Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Cannondale Factory Racing) andJeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo. /Subaru-Trek) were 61st and 83rd respectively.
Despite a mediocre start spot, Gould moved up to earn a 12th- place finish in the elite women’s cross-country contest; proving she is back on form. The 2008 Olympian finished 3:38 back of winner Catharine Pendrel (CAN/Luna Pro Team) who leads the world cup series.
Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt. /Specialized Racing), who led the American charge in the last world cup round in South Africa, turned in a solid result on a tough course in 19th. Two-time Olympian Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) put forth a 37th place effort, cyclo-cross champ Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo. /Rabobank Giant Off-Road Team) was 43rd and Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Trek) 45th, just under 10 minutes back.
Junior, U23 & XCE
Eighteen year-old Swenson earned the only cross-country medal of the weekend for the U.S. in the junior men’s cross-country event. The Utah native held the lead heading into the final lap until he fell victim to the soft course and was passed by French and Swiss riders.
“I felt strong, and thought that the course suited me well,” said Swenson. “I’m way stoked with my finish and hope I can improve on it next time!.”
Shane Skelton (Shadow Hills, Calif/Whole Athlete-Specialized) and Connor Bell (Harrisonburg, Va./Rocktown Racing) finished 77th and 99th respectively in the junior men’s contest.
Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./Subaru-Trek) finished 22nd for the U.S. at 4:35 back and Kerry Werner(Banner Elk, N.C./BMC MTB Development Team) 39th against a world-class U23 men’s field.
In Friday’s inaugural cross-country eliminator event Brian Lopes (Laguna Beach, Calif./Lopes 55 Racing) pulled off the victory ahead of Austria’s Daniel Federspiel. Lopes will don the first-ever leaders jersey for the discipline that advances the winner of heats of four.
The 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will continue with round #3, May 11-13 in Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Repbulic. More information on the 2012 RockRoads UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series here.
2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup #2
March 13-15, 2012
Elite Men’s Cross-country
1. Julien Absalon (FRA/Orbea) 1:30:22
2. Nino Schurter (SUI/Scott-Swisspower MTB Racing Team) +0:38
3. Marco Aurelio Fontana (ITA/Cannondale) +1:03
36. Stephen Ettinger (Cashmere, Wash. /BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team) +6:37
37. Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont. /Subaru-Trek) +6:37
45. Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing) +7:22
61. Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Cannondale Factory Racing) +9:10
83. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo. /Subaru-Trek) +11:33
87. Spencer Paxson (Seattle, Wash. /Kona) +11:57
127. Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) -1 lap
130. Adam Craig (Bend, Ore. /Rabobank Giant Off-Road Team) -1 lap
Elite Women’s Cross-country
1. Catharine Pendrel (CAN/Luna Pro Team) 1:31:15
2. Julie Bresset (FRA/BH-SR SunTour) +:48
3. Maja Wloszczowska (POL/CCC Polkowice) +1:24
12. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo. /Luna Pro Team) +3:35
19. Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt. /Specialized Racing) +4:52
37. Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) +7:56
43. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo. /Rabobank Giant Off-Road Team) +9:04
45. Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Trek) +9:25
48 Chloe Woodruff (Tucson, Ariz./Crankbrothers Race Club 11) +9:57
62. Judy Freeman (Brighton, Colo./Crankbrothers Race Club 11) +0:08:35
76. Zephanie Blasi (Vail, Ariz./WXC World Racing) -1 lap
83. Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Moda-Bikemagic Racing Team) -1 lap
U23 Men’s Cross-country
1. Ondrej Cink (CZE/Merida) 1:19:33
2. Alexander Gehbauer (AUT) +0:21
3. Julilan Schelb (GER) +0:27
22. Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./Subaru-Trek) +4:35
39. Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, N.C./BMC MTB Development Team) +7:02
Junior Men’s Cross-country
1. Romain Seigle (FRA/Definitive Spectra) 1:05:07
2. Andri Frischknecht (SUI/Scott-Swisspower) +0:40
3. Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Cannondale Factory Racing) +0:45
77. Shane Skelton (Shadow Hills, Calif/Whole Athlete-Specialized) +9:23
99. Connor Bell (Harrisonburg, Va./Rocktown Racing) +11:25
1. Brian Lopes (Laguna Beach, Calif./Lopes 55 Racing)
2. Daniel Federspiel (AUS)
3. Simon Gegenheimer (GER)
Source: Andrea Smith