Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) raced to victory in round four of the US Pro XCT in Missoula, Montana on Saturday afternoon. Fresh off her third place finish at US Nationals last weekend in Sun Valley, Irmiger beat runner-up Pua Mata (Sho-Air) by 1:25 and third place finisher Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club) by 4:03.
Irmiger led from the gun and never looked back as she raced four laps around the 4.4km course on a hot day in dry conditions. She also wowed spectators by taking the infamous A-line jump, gaining valuable seconds on each lap over those who had to opt for the longer, gentler B-line singletrack.
Woodruff rode much of the race in second place and was chased by Mata. However, once Woodruff had to stop in the pit for tech assistance, Mata caught and passed her. Mata rode in second place for the duration while Woodruff finished third - her best ever US Pro XCT result thus far.
Judy Freeman and Evelyn Dong battled head-to-head for fourth place. The two rode together much of the race and were well matched. Freeman was descending slightly faster and given that the race finished with more downhill, that made the difference in the end. Freeman finished 11 seconds in front of Dong.
In contrast to 2011, when none of the elite women rode the A-line jump, three did so this time around. In addition to Irmiger, U23 racer Deidre York (The Gear Movement/Epic Pro Cycling) also nailed the jump as did Lizzy English (Giant).
With her second place finish, Mata held onto her lead in the US Pro XCT while Irmiger moved up into third, thanks to her winning points. Erin Huck (Tokyo Joes) is in third spot.
The US Pro XCT final round will happen at the Subaru Cup in Wisconsin in late August.
For her victory, Irmiger was awarded a unique trophy: a huge a rack (antlers).
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru/Trek||1:17:18|
|2||Pua Mata (USA) Sho-Air||0:01:25|
|3||Chloe Woodruff (USA) Crankbrothers Race Club||0:04:03|
|4||Judy Freeman (USA)||0:05:37|
|5||Evelyn Dong (USA)||0:05:48|
|6||Rose Grant (USA) Sportsman and Ski Haus||0:06:31|
|7||Erin Huck (USA) Tokyo Jones||0:06:54|
|8||Krista Park (USA) Cannondale/NoTubes||0:07:08|
|9||Rebecca Gross (USA) Tough Girl Cycling||0:07:57|
|10||Nina Baum (USA)||0:08:18|
|11||Heidi Rentz (USA)||0:08:25|
|12||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Luna||0:08:49|
|13||Zephanie Blasi (USA) WXC World Racing||0:10:14|
|14||Deidre York (USA) The Gear Movement/Epic Pro Cycling||0:10:34|
|15||Elisa Otter (USA) Southern Express||0:11:10|
|16||Elizabeth English (USA)||0:12:31|
|17||Jamie Busch (USA) Calmar/Quadzilla Racing||0:14:11|
|18||Sage Wilderman (USA) Kenda/Felt||0:14:18|
|19||Katherine O'Shea (Aus) Torq Nutrition||0:15:32|
|20||Sarah Sturm (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/Devo||0:16:26|
|21||Bryna Blanchard (USA) Windham Mountain Cycling Club||0:17:33|
|22||Shannon Gibson (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Women's Team||0:18:57|
|23||Lauren Catlin (USA) Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory/Devo||0:19:06|
|24||Shannon Holden (USA) Vanderkitten Focus/Vanderkitten||0:24:30|
|-1lap||Alicia Rose Pastore (USA) BMC Mountain Bike Development Team|
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