Horgan-Kobelski, Gould claim cross country wins

Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) proved again that she is in a class by herself by winning the final cross country race of the USA Cycling Pro XCT series by nearly two minutes. Willow Koerber (Subaru - Trek), the top-ranked American on the World Cup circuit used her technical prowess to grab second place, while Katie Compton (Planet Bike) rode impressively to third place. Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) finished fourth, and US National Champion Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) took the final spot on the podium.

This was the second stage of a three-day stage race. Rain drenched the Cheyenne Mountain race course only an hour before the women's start, but amazingly the track was nearly dry by race time. The women rode four circuits of the 4.39-mile long course, with 658 feet of climbing per lap. The first mile is wide-open, mostly uphill doubletrack. The small pea-stone surface gave riders fits as they could never be sure how much speed to take into corners.

The back side of the course used Cougar's Shadow Trail, probably the most technical course on the Pro XCT schedule. There are relentless uphill and downhill switchbacks, numerous rock gardens, and at least two technical run-ups. With turns every 50 feet, it was quite easy for a rider to get out of sight of her rivals. Once the riders popped out into the open, they had perhaps one minute to recover on a gravely doubletrack descent before hitting the final technical downhill.

Gould simply rode away from everyone and increased her lead throughout the race. Behind her Compton managed to stay with Koerber for the first lap before slipping back about a minute. McConneloug seemed to improve as the race went on, perhaps because many of the women were not allowed to pre-ride the course on race day. Their first laps were a learning experience.

"I went to the front right after the feed zone and just wanted to ride my own pace," said Gould. "There is a lot of singletrack and not very much passing, and people are not going to let you by. I just wanted to get out front. All the hardest parts are at the top, so I definitely suffered out there."

Young racers Amy Dombroski (Luna Pro Team) and Chloe Forsman (Tokyo Joes) seem to be battling each other quite often this season. Dombroski is in her first full season as a mountain bike racer, while Forsman is still a full-time student at the University of Arizona in Tucson. So far this weekend, Forsman has come out on top of this race-within-a-race.

Pua Sawicki, formerly an endurance racer, has been honing her skills on the World Cup circuit this season. Her sixth place finish is quite impressive given the depth of talent racing. Krista Park (Incycle) seems to have flipped a switch and turned herself into a top level elite racer, almost overnight. Suddenly she is at the front of every race and in the hunt for podium positions.

"The course was super fun," said Koerber after the race. "It really makes you focus and takes your mind off the fact that it's 6:00 o'clock and you're hungry and tired. I am not a fan of all that gravelly stuff (the doubletrack). The last thing I want to do is have a big crash with some big events coming up - plus road rash is not cute."

When asked about her battle with Compton, Koerber said, "I don't think that at any point I was attacking, but on the third climb I dropped a gear or two and she came off."

With her victory today, Georgia Gould guarantees that she will be the overall US Pro XCT series winner.

JHK survives Kabush's last lap challenge

In one of the most exciting cross country races of the season, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) held off Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) in a fierce last lap battle. Todd Wells (Specialized) was in the hunt the entire race but had to settle for third place. This should be enough to ensure Wells wins the Pro XCT series title. Sam Schultz (Subaru-Gary Fisher) continued an impressive streak of races lately by finishing fourth. Ryan Trebon (Kona) appears to be coming into top form for the National Championships next week. He finished fifth.

This race was like a war for many of the riders. Last year's winner Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) suffered a concussion, but completed his final lap before being taken to the hospital. Kabush also hit his head on a tree during the first lap and rode for a while a bit dazed. Many riders, including Brady Kappius, had multiple spectacular crashes, but were able to continue racing. Sam Schultz said on his Facebook page that he "rode in fear and is hoping to get his mojo back today."

About the last thing a race leader wants to see behind him is Kabush and Wells teaming up to reel you in. JHK managed to hold about a 35-second lead until the fourth lap, when Kabush realized he must bridge up to JHK before getting on to the final lap climbs.

Kabush passed JHK just as they started lap five but had expended so much energy that JHK was able to launch a successful uphill attack that would give him a margin he would retain on his way to victory.

"My plan was to ride a really aggressive race," said Horgan-Kobelski. "I pushed really hard through all the technical stuff at the top. I chose to ride a dually (Superfly 100), and was definitely faster than the guys on hardtails."

"I hadn't pre-ridden the course, so I took it a little easy on the first lap and really started pushing on the second and third lap," said JHK. "I was honestly surprised those guys came back to me. You always get nervous when you get caught on the last lap, but I felt really strong and made a big move on the last climb."

It was quite bizarre that due to scheduling problems, a huge portion of the men's and women's fields had not been allowed to pre-ride the course. Gould was one of the few who had pre-ridden, only because she was out on the course at 7:30 am despite the fact that her race did not begin until 4:00 pm.

It should be noted that Russell Finsterwald, who finished seventh, is riding well above what is expected of this first-year Trek rider. It has been a long time since we have seen such talent at the age of 18. Only Adam Craig (Team Giant) comes to mind as someone who displayed these flashes of brilliance at the beginning of his pro career. What is even more impressive about Finsterwald is his consistency, something that young riders rarely seem to have. He is certainly someone to watch.

The elite racers will compete in an XCC format race on Sunday, something not seen in the US in quite a few years. The men will race 45 minutes plus five minutes of a 1.2-mile course, while the women will race 30 minutes plus five laps. It should be quite interesting to watch.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of Sunday's stage 3 events.

Full Results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Trek1:57:47
2Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:00:20
3Todd Wells (USA) Specialized Factory Racing0:00:23
4Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Trek0:05:12
5Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona0:06:17
6Troy Wells (USA)0:07:18
7Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru-Trek0:07:59
8Michael Broderick (USA) Kenda/Seven/NoTubes0:08:07
9Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)0:08:12
10Spencer Paxson (USA)0:08:32
11Bryan Alders (USA)0:09:46
12Colin Cares (USA)0:10:58
13Kalan Beisel (USA)0:11:02
14Kevin Kane (USA)0:12:37
15Michael Mccalla (USA)0:13:36
16Brady Kappius (USA)0:13:38
17Matthew Beaton (USA)0:14:36
18Andy Schultz (USA)0:14:44
19Robert Marion (USA)0:15:19
20Greg Carpenter (USA)0:16:01
21Mitch Hoke (USA)0:16:16
22Peter Ostroski (USA)0:16:32
23Kerry Werner Jr. (USA)0:18:16
24Aaron Elwell (USA)0:18:41
25Joe Schneider (USA)0:18:54
26Scott Frederick (USA)0:19:14
27Macky Franklin (USA)0:20:48
28Doug Johnson (USA)0:21:39
29Will Patterson (USA) Whole Athlete Cycling Team0:22:11
30Bryan Mickiewicz (USA)0:22:49
31Cody Peterson (USA)0:23:30
32Matt Connors (USA)0:24:49
33Tristan Uhl (USA)0:25:44
34Menso De Jong (USA)0:26:37
35Cr Wohlschlaeger (USA)0:26:41
36Woodruff Tj (USA)0:27:45
37John Nobil (USA)0:27:57
38Graham Aldredge (USA)0:29:41
39Matt Wiebe (USA)0:40:20
40Clark Jj (USA)0:51:38
41John Bennett (USA)0:57:13
42Max Plaxton (Can)1:05:10
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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team1:48:31
2Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Trek0:01:45
3Katherine Compton (USA)0:03:14
4Mary McConneloug (USA) Kenda/Seven/NoTubes0:04:54
5Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Trek0:05:15
6Pua Sawicki (USA)0:06:20
7Chloe Forsman (USA) Tokyo Joes0:09:31
8Krista Park (USA) Incycle / Cannondale0:09:39
9Amy Dombroski (USA) Luna Pro Team0:09:49
10Jennifer Smith (NZl)0:10:14
11Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Felt0:10:56
12Judy Freeman (USA)0:12:40
13Allison Mann (USA)0:14:02
14Aleksand Mooradian (Pol)0:16:49
15Michelle Bellamy (NZl)0:19:13
16Molly Throdahl (USA)0:20:27
17Bryna Blanchard (USA)0:21:36
18Erin Disterheft (USA)0:24:03
19Deidre York (USA)0:26:15
20Danae York (USA)0:27:09
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Cat. 1 Men 15-16
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ryan Geiger1:27:48
2Chase DickensRow 1 - Cell 2
3Taylor Smith0:00:32
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Cat. 1 Men 17-18
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Skyler Trujillo1:47:13
2William Curtis0:01:13
3Tony Smith0:02:14
4Lewis Gaffney0:05:30
5Zachary Valdez0:05:46
6Nicholas Newcomb0:10:18
7Joseph Yoham0:11:27
8Colby PastoreRow 7 - Cell 2
9Riley Predum0:13:23
10Alex Stevenson0:14:39
11Roman Brockley0:51:40
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Cat. 1 Men 19-29
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Peter O'donnell1:55:10
2Chris Hurst0:00:03
3Matt Williams0:09:24
4Matthe Mooradian0:16:11
5Derek Brinkerhoff0:17:08
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Cat. 1 Men 30-39
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kervin Quinones1:54:10
2Brent Gorman0:06:00
3Kyle Ashton0:06:55
4Darian Founds0:09:00
5Craig Kennedy0:12:16
6Jacob Gonzales0:18:54
7Kevin Noleen0:20:37
8Jean Matthews0:27:19
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Cat. 1 Men 40-49
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dario Fredrick1:52:22
2Ron Bollenberghe0:09:55
3Brian Maslach0:13:59
4Art MacfarlandRow 3 - Cell 2
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Cat. 1 Men 50+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Russell Asleson2:07:59
2Miroslav Novak0:02:16
3Steve Cherry0:08:04
4Roy Gryskevich0:23:59
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Cat. 1 Women 17-18
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Meghan Kane1:49:12
2Kara Uhl0:07:27
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Cat. 1 Women 19-29
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Philicia Marion1:55:24
2Kerri Stone0:12:33
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Cat. 1 Women 30+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Syrae Weikle1:45:24
2Katina Walker0:09:32
3Lauren Ziedonis0:25:20
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Cat. 2 Men 15-16
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Philip Meyer1:36:04
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Cat. 2 Men 17-18
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Bobby Zidek2:00:30
2Sven Beer0:09:34
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Cat. 2 Men 19-29
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Benjamin Hess2:13:47
2Ranjodh Gill0:01:18
3Zach Bodhane0:05:42
4Rafael Olvera0:14:34
5Daniel Gerow0:46:52
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Cat. 2 Men 30-39
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Steven Thompson2:27:37
2Pete Vanbreemen0:09:15
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Cat. 2 Men 40-49
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Chip Stadjuhar2:08:24
2Bob Catalano0:05:32
3Robert Willcox0:05:40
4Stephen Trahey0:12:13
5Juan Gutierrez0:13:44
6Chris Kuzma0:17:09
7David Rosenbaum0:18:13
8Bill Harms0:30:26
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Cat. 2 Men 50+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Emil Gercke2:28:17
2Robert Rodriguez0:12:52
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Cat. 3 Men 15-16
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Zach Kuzma1:12:53
2Connor Mason0:30:07
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Cat. 3 Men 17-18
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dakota Pittman1:03:37
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Cat. 3 Men 30-39
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Guillerm Guerra1:06:25
2Craig Oboyle0:09:54
3Scott Swandal0:22:27
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Cat. 3 Men 40-49
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dan Spinato1:10:45
2Ronald Formanek0:03:13
3Jack Mason0:05:24
4Adrian Gailey0:19:09
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Cat. 3 Men 50+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Steve Simmons1:18:23
2Tim Gaffney0:23:16
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Cat. 3 Women 19+
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Megan Henning1:41:34
Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cameron Chambers2:15:07
2Ben Ollett0:08:25
3Jeff Walker0:13:29


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