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Canadian and American mountain bikers head to Pan Am Games

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Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) stuck like glue to the lead group

Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) stuck like glue to the lead group (Image credit: Epic Rides)
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Max Plaxton got Canada into 5th at the end of lap 1

Max Plaxton got Canada into 5th at the end of lap 1 (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Canada and the United States are fielding mountain bike teams for the 16th Pan-American Games to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico. The mountain bike race will be held on October 15.

Canada is sending four athletes - two men and two women. Max Plaxton, who surprised many by winning the Canadian cross country title this summer, will be looking to extend his successful season in Guadalajara. He will be accompanied by Derek Zandstra, who had a strong performance at the world championships in Switzerland last month.

Mikaela Kofman of Toronto will be gunning for gold in the women's cross country race, along with her teammate Amanda Sin. Kofman is the current U23 Canadian cross country national champion.

The United States named a three-person delegation to Mexico. Veteran racer Jeremiah Bishop, fresh off victory at the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race, will team up with Under 23 cross country national champion Stephen Ettinger to tackle the mountain bike circuit near Tapala, Mexico. Along with Bishop on the men's side, Heather Irmiger is an automatic qualifier to the women's squad by virtue of her silver medal performance at the Continental Mountain Bike Championships in Bogota, Columbia last spring.

The Pan Am Games race could be jeopardized by a pending hurricane named Jova. According to, the category 3 storm was scheduled to make landfall on Tuesday evening in the Mexican states of Colima and Jalisco. Guadalajara is the capital of Jalisco.

US Mountain Bike Team for 2011 Pan Am Games
Men: Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing), Stephen Ettinger (BMC MTB Development Team)
Women: Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek)