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Gagne, Batty win Bonelli Park XC

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(Image credit: Ridebiker Alliance)
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(Image credit: Ridebiker Alliance)
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(Image credit: Ridebiker Alliance)
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(Image credit: Ridebiker Alliance)
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(Image credit: Ridebiker Alliance)
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(Image credit: Ridebiker Alliance)

The men’s race was shortened by a lap due to the heat and would also be seven laps of the tough Bonelli Park course. With temperatures already topped out, the men set off, with Italy’s Andrea Tiberi getting the hole shot and fellow Italian Marco Aurelio Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) taking over the lead on the first full lap.

Fontana’s teammate Manuel Fumic then took the lead and for a brief moment it was Cannondale Factory Racing in first, second and third, as Anton Cooper (New Zealand) benefited from a strong start to claim his spot near the front. 2014 overall US CUP champion Geoff Kabush (Canada) slotted into fourth with Kerry Werner (Raleigh Clement Cycling Team) ensuring an American spot in the top five.

Just into the second lap, Fumic put in a hard effort to get the gap he wanted, with Gagne trailing at fifteen seconds. Behind, Sergio Mantecon (Trek Factory Racing), Cooper and Fontana, Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), Kabush and Werner formed the chase group.

On the second lap, the chase group slowly reeled in Fumic, who was caught first by Gagne and then by the remainder of the chasers.

With just two laps remaining, Max Plaxton (Team Sho-Air/Cannondale) put in an attack that only Gagne could bridge up to. The two would remain at the front for the remainder of the race to duel it out for the victory. Behind, U23 Cooper and James Reid (Trek RECM) joined up to defend their positions.

Gagne’s repeated attacks finally snapped the elastic when Plaxton was unable to bridge back on the short steep climbs of the final lap. Gagne pushed his lead out further on the final descent back into the park and had time to celebrate his 20-second victory over fellow Canadian Plaxton. Cooper, Reid and Mantecon rounded out the international podium.

“This is my first ever cross country US CUP win, so I’m super happy with that,“ Gagne said. “I am here with Rocky Mountain and the Quebec Province so thanks to them for the support. I found that little extra energy to catch back up to Max. He always has a lot of watts so it was good to be up there with him.”

“I felt comfortable in the big group and it was really dusty out there so I decided to take my own lines,” said Plaxton. “My hats off to Raphael, it’s great to have a Canadian one-two.”

Elite Women

The Canadians dominated in the women's race as well, with world champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) getting the hole shot and the early lead after the short start loop. The Luna-led front group of five slowly peeled away and separated from the pack, only to be joined by the day’s revelation, Larissa Connors on lap one.

The Southern-California based high school math teacher soon found herself racing with World Champions, World Cup winners and Olympic medallists. Connors (Ridebiker Alliance) would at times prove to be the strongest climber of the front bunch, but would occasionally drop back from the leaders only to fight back over and over to bring them back after falling off the pace.

Luna’s Georgia Gould put in a hard effort towards the top of the first major climb of the day, which settled the formation of the front group of six as: Pendrel, Gould and Nash (Luna Pro Team); Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing); Chloe Woodruff (Team Stan's NoTubes-Niner) and Connors (Ridebiker Alliance). Behind them, the chase was led by Evelyn Dong (Sho-Air/Cannondale), Lesley Patterson (Scott Bikes) and Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing).

On lap three of the seven-lap race, Nash and Woodruff would drop off the front group after pressure from Gould and Pendrel, with Batty calmly sitting in and Connors continuing to battle back to the leaders.

The race settled into this rhythm with little change until the final lap, when Batty finally made her move on the first ascent after the line. Putting in a strong attack, Batty got the gap needed and continued to put pressure on Pendrel for the remainder of the race to finish with a 39 second gap on Pendrel, with Gould in third, Connors in fourth and Woodruff in fifth.

“What an awesome start to the season,” said Batty. “I worked really hard over the winter and spring. My confidence is there, my Trek equipment is dialled in, so it’s really motivating knowing that the hard work paid off. The Luna girls are always ‘on’ so it’s always a challenge and it defines that level of competition!”

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Raphael Gagne (Can)1:29:35
2Max Plaxton (Can) Sho-Air/Cannondale0:00:20
3Anton Cooper (NZl) Cannondale Factory Racing0:00:33
4James Reid (RSA) Trek Recm0:00:46
5Sergio Mantecon Gutie (Spa) Trek Factory Racing Team0:01:15
6Adam Morka (Can)0:01:30
7Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott 3 Rox Racing0:01:49
8Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott 3 Rox Racing0:01:57
9Martin Loo (Est)0:02:01
10Andrea Tiberi (Ita)0:02:29
11Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing0:02:30
12Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Factory Racing0:03:16
13Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)0:03:20
14Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing0:04:01
15Kerry Werner (USA) Raleigh Clement Cycling Team0:04:54
16Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing Team0:05:27
17Leandre Bouchard (Can) Equipe Quebec/Cyclone D' Alma0:05:52
18Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bicycles0:06:23
19Howard Grotts (USA)0:07:07
20Ricardo Alex Pscheidt (Bra)0:08:09
21Richard Cyp Gorry (USA) Whole Athlete Specialized Cycling Team0:08:16
22Keegan Swenson (USA) Team Sho-Air/Cannondale0:08:30
23Troy Wells (USA)0:09:27
24Sepp Kuss (USA) Intermountain Live Well0:09:36
25Mitchell Hoke (USA)0:10:33
26Evan Guthrie (Can) Norco Factory Team0:11:23
27Russell Finsterwald (USA) SRAM/Tld Race Team0:16:08

Elite Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Emily Batty (Can) Trek Factory Racing Team1:49:56
2Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Team0:00:38
3Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team0:01:05
4Larissa Connors (USA) Ridebiker Alliance0:01:47
5Chloe Woodruff (USA) Team Stans Notubes-Niner0:02:22
6Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team0:02:40
7Lesley Paterson (USA) Scott Bikes0:04:15
8Erin Huck (USA) Scott 3 Rox0:04:45
9Sandra Walter (Can) Liv Cycling Canada0:05:03
10Evelyn Dong (USA) Team Sho-Air/Cannondale0:05:50
11Lea Davison (USA) Specialized Racing0:06:51
12Haley Smith (Can) Norco Factory Team0:10:43
13Maghalie Rochette (Can) Luna Pro Team0:11:50
16Cheryl Sornson (USA) Rare Disease Cycling
17Ally Stacher (USA) Pulled
18Rebecca Beaumont (Can) Cyclone D'Alma/Team Quebec
19Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Scott 3 Rox
20Marine Lewis (Can) Pulled
21Erin Alders (USA) Oiae Republic/Sho-Air/Ridebiker Alliance
22Cindy Montambault (Can) Equipe Du Quebec/Cvm 2 Vals
23Nina Baum (USA) Stans No Tubes Women Elite Team
24Amy Beisel (USA) Liv/Giant Co-Factory
25Hannah Rae Finchamp (USA) Luna Pro Team
26Rachel Pageau (Can) Team Quebec/Devinci
27Rotem Gafinovitz (Isr) Pulled
28Caroline Mani (Fra) Raleigh Clement Cycling Team
29Alexis Skarda (USA) Pulled
30Elisa Otter (USA) Bicycle Express Racing
31Megan Chinburg (USA) Pulled
32Kris Gross (USA) Team Ninja
33Carolina Gomez Villafan (Arg) Vanderkitten
34Sarah Lynch (Can) Two Wheel Racing
35Shioban Kelly (Can) Pulled
36Chloe Cross (Can) Team Whistler
37Abbey Alexaides (USA) Liv/Giant Co-Factory Team
38Andrea Waldis (Swi) Luna Pro Team


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