Georgia Gould (Luna) picked off 2011 right were she left off in 2010 - dominating the women's US national cross country series. Gould made it look easy - riding solo early in the race until she crossed the line as the winner of the first round of the US Pro XCT in Bonelli Park, California. She finished two minutes and 13 seconds ahead of Lea Davison (Specialized) and Krista Park (Cannondale/NoTubes).
Runner-up Davison proved she's back racing with the best after a year off due to hip injury and subsequent surgery and rehab. Park, in third, was freshly returned to the US after some training and racing in Cyprus.
How it unfolded
When the gun went off, 18 elite women all stomped on the pedals and hammered off the start, as they jockeyed for position on the asphalt section that leads into the first climb of the day. Midway up the climb, a lead group of five women formed, among them Gould, Davidson, Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek), Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) and Park.
Once she got to the front, US cross country national champion Gould dropped the hammer and rode everyone off her wheel for the next five laps. Following Gould's attack, racers settled into their own rhythm and the gaps grew as racers spread out.
Even with Gould's predictable dominance, the race offered a few surprises.
For Davidson, her second place marked the end of a long road back after missing the entire 2010 season. Given a life-line by her new Specialized Factory domestic team this year, Davidson didn't disappoint her brand new sponsors and rode to a solid second place in her first race in over a year. She was the only rider to keep Gould in sight for the early laps, but sucumbed to Gould's brutal pace.
Probably the biggest surprise on the day was the performance of privateer Krista Park, who scored her first national series career podium. Podium regulars Heather Irmiger and Emily Batty showed some signs of rust from the long winter break. Park on the other hand, she proved she's off to a great start in the early season.
Batty, who is new to the Subaru/Trek team for 2011, ended up fourth after running up front early in the race. The amicable Canadian looked good on her new 29er, but just didn't have the staying power of the top three.
Chloe Forsman (BMC MTB Development Team) placed a solid fifth on the day for her new team.
Judy Freeman (Kenda/Felt), Daniela Campuzano (Mexico National Team), Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt), Zephanie Blasi(No Tubes Elite Women) and Lydia Tanner (Tokyo Joes) filled out the top ten.
Next up in the Triple Crown event is the super D is next up today while the short track will happen on Sunday.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna||1:40:44|
|2||Lea Davison (USA) Specialized||0:02:13|
|3||Krista Park (USA) Incycle/Cannondale||0:07:14|
|4||Emily Batty (Can) Subaru-Trek||0:07:48|
|5||Chloe Forsman (USA) BMC Development Team||0:08:22|
|6||Judy Freeman (USA) Kenda/Felt||0:10:50|
|7||Daniela Campuzano (Mex) Mexican National Team||0:14:09|
|8||Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Felt||0:15:09|
|9||Zephanie Blasi (USA) No Tubes Elite Women||0:18:26|
|10||Lydia Tanner (USA) Tokyo Joes||0:18:33|
|11||Sarah Kaufmann (USA)||0:19:02|
|12||Carolyn Popovic (USA)||0:19:19|
|13||Kelsy Bingham (USA)|
|14||Erica Zaveta (USA)|
|15||Heather Irmiger (USA)|
|16||Deyanira Guerrero (Mex)|
|17||Kaila Hart (USA)|
|18||Shannon Gibson (USA)|