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Cares and Blasi take over US Pro XCT lead

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Colin Cares of Kenda/Felt took 2nd place

Colin Cares of Kenda/Felt took 2nd place (Image credit: US Cup)
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Zephanie Blasi (NoTubes) leading her teammate Kathy Sherwin up the mountain

Zephanie Blasi (NoTubes) leading her teammate Kathy Sherwin up the mountain (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

Colin Cares (Kenda-Felt) and Zephanie Blasi (WXC World Racing) took over the USA Cycling US Pro Cross Country Tour 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 (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 (Team Luna Chix) holding on to second place in the US Pro XCT standings over Erin Huck (Tokyo Joe's).

The Subaru-Trek squad and the Kenda/Felt Pro MTB Team moved into one and two on the team standings respectively after a strong showing at Bonelli.

The second of five 2012 events on the US 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 10 riders opting to prepare for the upcoming World Cup next weekend in South Africa. In the women’s race, local Allison Mann (Sho-Air-Specialized) made the best of home track knowledge and rode away to a convincing solo win to earn the first US 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 and Andreanne Pichette (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, chased by Cannondale's Alex Grant, Sho-Air/Specialized's Brendon Davids 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 US Pro XCT win. Cares followed in second, followed by a surging Gagne, Valencia and young Kerry Werner (BMC MTB Dev. Team), who rounded out the top five, and earned the title of top U23 rider.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Bonelli Park US Pro XCT round.

US Pro XCT Standings after two rounds

Elite men standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Colin Cares (USA) Kenda/Felt240pts
2Max Plaxton (Can) Specialized Racing200
3Raphael Gagne (Can) Rocky Mountain Factory200
4Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox190
5Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Racing180
6Ignacio Torres (Mex) Turbo170
6Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing170
8Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Trek160
9Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing150
10Adam Craig (USA) Giant Rabo Bank140
10Emmanuel Valencia (Mex) Turbo140
12Ryan Woodall (USA) Top Gear Bicycles/Mtfmx.Com140
13Kerry Werner (USA) BMC Mountainbike Development Team Usa138
14Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Trek130
15Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru-Trek130
16Brendon Davids (RSA) Sho-Air/Specialized125
17Spencer Paxson (USA) Team S&M120
18Menso De  Jong (USA) Santa Cruz Bicycles115
19Antoine Caron (Can) Subway-Genetik100
20Alex Grant (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing90
20Jason Sager (USA) Team Jamis90
22Tj Woodruff (USA) Momtentum Endurance Arizona Cyclist86
23Rotem Ishay (Isr) Team Jamis85
24Cameron Jette (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing70
25Carl Decker (USA) Giant Factory Team55
26Peter Glassford (Can) Momentum Endurance50
27Evan Guthrie (Can) Team Canada45
28Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona40
29Victor Alber (USA) Super Cool Bike Shop/American Classic35
30Howard Grotts (USA) Specialized30
30Jeremy Martin (Can)30
32Adam Morka (Can) Trek Canada28
33Ben Bostrom (USA) Sho-Air/Specialized27
34Payson Mcelveen (USA) Rock Mountain Chocolate Factory Devo24
35Macky Franklin (USA) Orbea Tuff Shed23
36Bryan Alders (USA) Epic Pro Cycling Team22
37Seamus Powell (USA) Giant-Mid Atlantic Mtb Team20
37Dana Weber (USA) Pro Bike Supply20
39Zachary Valdez (USA) Whole Athlete-Specialized19
40Cody Canning (Can) Trek Red Truck P/B Mosaic Homes16
41Tyson Wagler (Can) Scott-3Roxracing13
42Andy Schultz (USA) Kenda-Felt12
43Kalan Beisel (USA) Orbea Tuff Shed11
44Bryan Fawley (USA) Orbea Tuff Shed10
45Matt Gordon (USA) Team Cycle Progression9
46Robert Marion (USA) American Classic/Xpedo P/B Max7
47Brennan Wodtli (USA)6
48Blake Harlan (USA) Ya Gotta Giv'r3

Elite women standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zephanie Blasi (USA) Wxc World Racing240pts
3Erin Huck (USA) Tokyo Joes200
2Catherine Pendrel (Can) Team Luna Chix200
4Judy Freeman (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club190
5Monique Mata (USA) Sho-Air/Specialized180
6Erica Tingey (USA) Kuhl/Rocky Mountain175
7Katie Compton (USA) Giant Rabobank Team170
7Allison Mann (USA) Sho-Air/Specialized170
9Mariske Strauss (RSA) Pepper Palace.Spin-Tech Training170
10Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team160
11Sarah Kaufman (USA) Stan's No Tube Elite Women's Team160
12Lea Davidson (USA) Specialized Racing150
13Jamie Busch (USA)140
13Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru/Trek140
15Emily Batty (Can) Subaru-Trek130
15Andreanne Pichette (Can) Opus-Ogc/Equipe Quebec130
17Sage Wilderman (USA) Kenda/Felt125
18Chloe Woodruff (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club 11120
19Amanda Sin (Can) Scott-3 Rox Racing110
20Daniela Chavz (Mex)100
20Jennifer Smith (NZl) Trek/Vw100
22Cayley Brooks (Can)60
23Vicky Barclay (USA) Stans No Tubes Women50
24Lisa Uranga (USA) Pacc45
25Christina Gokey-­-Smith (USA) Colonels/Sho-Air40
25Valerie Maunier (Can)40
27Meghan Korol (USA) Pepper Palace.Spin-Tech Training35
28Liz Carrington (USA) Bear Valley Bikes30
28Haley Smith (Can) Team Canada30
30Melanie Long (USA) Tough Girl/ Scott28
31Andreane Lanthier  Nadea (Can) Rocky Mountain Factory20
32Anna Fortner (USA) The Team-Socalcross15
33Kaila Hart (USA) No Tubes Elite Women12
34Caeli Barron (Can) Cynergy Racing9
35Alicia  Rose Pastore (USA) BMC MTB Development Stans No Tubes7
36Vanessa Humic (USA)5

Team standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Subaru-Trek55pts
2Kenda/Felt  Pro  MTB  Team51
3Team  Luna  Chix46
4BMC  MTB  Development  Team46
5Specialized  Racing45
6Orbea-Tuff Shed9
7Giant  Factory  Off‐Road  Team
8Honey  Stinger‐Bontrager  Off-Road