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.”
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!”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Raphael Gagne (Can)||1:29:35|
|2||Max Plaxton (Can) Sho-Air/Cannondale||0:00:20|
|3||Anton Cooper (NZl) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:00:33|
|4||James Reid (RSA) Trek Recm||0:00:46|
|5||Sergio Mantecon Gutie (Spa) Trek Factory Racing Team||0:01:15|
|6||Adam Morka (Can)||0:01:30|
|7||Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott 3 Rox Racing||0:01:49|
|8||Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott 3 Rox Racing||0:01:57|
|9||Martin Loo (Est)||0:02:01|
|10||Andrea Tiberi (Ita)||0:02:29|
|11||Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:02:30|
|12||Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Factory Racing||0:03:16|
|13||Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)||0:03:20|
|14||Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale Factory Racing||0:04:01|
|15||Kerry Werner (USA) Raleigh Clement Cycling Team||0:04:54|
|16||Kohei Yamamoto (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing Team||0:05:27|
|17||Leandre Bouchard (Can) Equipe Quebec/Cyclone D' Alma||0:05:52|
|18||Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bicycles||0:06:23|
|19||Howard Grotts (USA)||0:07:07|
|20||Ricardo Alex Pscheidt (Bra)||0:08:09|
|21||Richard Cyp Gorry (USA) Whole Athlete Specialized Cycling Team||0:08:16|
|22||Keegan Swenson (USA) Team Sho-Air/Cannondale||0:08:30|
|23||Troy Wells (USA)||0:09:27|
|24||Sepp Kuss (USA) Intermountain Live Well||0:09:36|
|25||Mitchell Hoke (USA)||0:10:33|
|26||Evan Guthrie (Can) Norco Factory Team||0:11:23|
|27||Russell Finsterwald (USA) SRAM/Tld Race Team||0:16:08|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Emily Batty (Can) Trek Factory Racing Team||1:49:56|
|2||Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Pro Team||0:00:38|
|3||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:01:05|
|4||Larissa Connors (USA) Ridebiker Alliance||0:01:47|
|5||Chloe Woodruff (USA) Team Stans Notubes-Niner||0:02:22|
|6||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||0:02:40|
|7||Lesley Paterson (USA) Scott Bikes||0:04:15|
|8||Erin Huck (USA) Scott 3 Rox||0:04:45|
|9||Sandra Walter (Can) Liv Cycling Canada||0:05:03|
|10||Evelyn Dong (USA) Team Sho-Air/Cannondale||0:05:50|
|11||Lea Davison (USA) Specialized Racing||0:06:51|
|12||Haley Smith (Can) Norco Factory Team||0:10:43|
|13||Maghalie Rochette (Can) Luna Pro Team||0:11:50|
|16||Cheryl Sornson (USA) Rare Disease Cycling|
|17||Ally Stacher (USA) Pulled|
|18||Rebecca Beaumont (Can) Cyclone D'Alma/Team Quebec|
|19||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Scott 3 Rox|
|20||Marine Lewis (Can) Pulled|
|21||Erin Alders (USA) Oiae Republic/Sho-Air/Ridebiker Alliance|
|22||Cindy Montambault (Can) Equipe Du Quebec/Cvm 2 Vals|
|23||Nina Baum (USA) Stans No Tubes Women Elite Team|
|24||Amy Beisel (USA) Liv/Giant Co-Factory|
|25||Hannah Rae Finchamp (USA) Luna Pro Team|
|26||Rachel Pageau (Can) Team Quebec/Devinci|
|27||Rotem Gafinovitz (Isr) Pulled|
|28||Caroline Mani (Fra) Raleigh Clement Cycling Team|
|29||Alexis Skarda (USA) Pulled|
|30||Elisa Otter (USA) Bicycle Express Racing|
|31||Megan Chinburg (USA) Pulled|
|32||Kris Gross (USA) Team Ninja|
|33||Carolina Gomez Villafan (Arg) Vanderkitten|
|34||Sarah Lynch (Can) Two Wheel Racing|
|35||Shioban Kelly (Can) Pulled|
|36||Chloe Cross (Can) Team Whistler|
|37||Abbey Alexaides (USA) Liv/Giant Co-Factory Team|
|38||Andrea Waldis (Swi) Luna Pro Team|
Latest on Cyclingnews
England and Tazreiter on top after opening stage of Crocodile TrophyAustralian and Austrian win elite men and women's events between Cairn and Ringer's Rest in iconic Australian MTB stage race
Iserbyt and Alvarado take early leads in Superprestige seriesBelgian and Dutchwoman dominate in respective races to take first round of season-long cyclo-cross competition
White wins Charm City Cross Day 2Day 1 winner Werner is second, Hyde third
Fahringer doubles up at Charm City CrossWilliams is second, Nolan third on Day 2