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Two American women make podium at mountain bike World Cup opener

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Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) off the front of the race.

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) off the front of the race.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/
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Willow Koerber leads on the first lap.

Willow Koerber leads on the first lap.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

The 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season got underway on Sunday in the United Kingdom with two Americans on the podium in the women's cross country contest. Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher) earned her best-ever finish in international competition finishing second, only 11 seconds behind reigning World Champion and Russian Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon). After leading a chase group in pursuit of the leading pair, American compatriot Georgia Gould (Luna) joined Koerber on the podium in fourth.

Kalentieva and Koerber were able to establish a lead around the second of the five-lap, 36-kilometer affair. The Luna squad quickly formed a chase group to hunt down the reigning world and Pan-American champions with Gould, Katerina Nash (Luna) and Catherine Pendrel (Luna) leading the way. The group drew to within 14 seconds of the leaders before fading to finish nearly half a minute behind the Kalentieva.

Other Americans in the top 15 were Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher) in ninth and Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-Notubes) in 14th.

The best American men's finisher was Todd Wells (Specialized) in 19th.

Round two of the UCI World Cup will continue this weekend, May 1-2 in Houffalize, Belgium.