Mata back on top after Whiskey 50 victory

Monique "Pua" Mata served noticed that she is back to her old form, after taking a brief hiatus away from the sport at the end of 2010. Mata won the Whiskey 50 on Sunday in Prescott, Arizona, taking her first major win since rejoining the Sho-Air/Specialized squad for the 2011 season.

The 2011 women's Whiskey 50 main event was stacked with top female competition, including Catharine Pendrel (Luna), who is currently ranked as the number one female cross country racer in the world. The race also included Kelli Emmett (Giant) and endurance icon Rebecca Rusch (Specialized), among others in the field.

The race came down to Pendrel, Emmett and Mata, and the latter used her endurance racing savvy to overtake the two racers within the last few miles of the race.

With just over a few miles to go in the race, Mata caught Pendrel and Emmett on the final descent leading into town. Seeing that her competitors were spent after over three solid hours in the saddle, Mata laid down a final, decisive attack. Then she rode away from both women toward victory.

"Pua's win makes the whole team so proud," said Sho-Air/Specialized team president R. Scott Tedro. "She's been working hard these last few months and we hope to give her the environment we give all our athletes, and that is a place where they can thrive and focus on winning and being happy.

"We are excited to have her back onboard with us and focusing solely on endurance events again."

Earlier this season, Mata also won the first round of the US Pro Ultra Endurance Tour (US Pro UET), the Spa City Extreme in Arkansas.

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