Breakout performance for Webcor's Abbot

Coming into the Montreal World Cup , one would expect a 22 year old neo-pro like Webcor's Mara...

Coming into the Montreal World Cup, one would expect a 22 year old neo-pro like Webcor's Mara Abbott to be a bit intimidated by the strong field, but riding against the likes of T-Mobile's Judith Arndt, World Cup leader Nicole Cooke, or even the World Champion Marianne Vos didn't seem to phase this former swimmer. "I came here ... with so much excitement," she said. "I mean I was so excited to race that I couldn't even stand it and it should have been scary for me, normally I wouldn't have been able to sleep. But I was having fun the whole time - it was really cool."

Her excitement propelled her off the front of the race where she found herself in the winning breakaway with the Italian Champion Fabiana Luperini and Team Uniqua's Edwige Pitel. Abbott couldn't match Luperini's speed in the final kilometre, but her second place confirms that this is a breakout year for the double collegiate champion. The Italian legend acknowledged the young American, saying "I want to give a lot of praise to the girl who was second because she really worked hard today."

Abbott's year started with a stunning victory in the 'queen stage' of the Redlands Classic, where she out-climbed Amber Neben to the top of Oak Glen. She went on to place second in the Sunset Road Race stage, finishing second in the overall classification and taking home the jersey of the best climber as well. Abbott confirmed her status of America's premier female climber by winning the Tour of the Gila. Abbott and her Webcor team will compete next in the Grand Tour of Montreal, which will give the Boulder, Colorado resident plenty of opportunities to test her climbing legs.

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