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Martin Loo victorious at Windham Pro-XCT

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Windham Mountain conditions were quite different this year. Trails were wet, and the temperature was above 90-degrees with high humidity.

Windham Mountain conditions were quite different this year. Trails were wet, and the temperature was above 90-degrees with high humidity. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Payson McElveen (Ridebiker) leading Nic Beechan on a small descent

Payson McElveen (Ridebiker) leading Nic Beechan on a small descent (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) putting in a solid 8th place ride

Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) putting in a solid 8th place ride (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nealo Perrin-Ganier riding in the top ten early in the contest.

Nealo Perrin-Ganier riding in the top ten early in the contest. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM TLD Scott) looked good on all the climbs

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM TLD Scott) looked good on all the climbs (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Lukas Baum (UCI MTB) descending through the “Rock no Roll” section of the course

Lukas Baum (UCI MTB) descending through the “Rock no Roll” section of the course (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Marcel Guerrini (Focus) found a fast line through the rocks

Marcel Guerrini (Focus) found a fast line through the rocks (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Keegan Swenson (Cannondale 360 Fly) leading Derek Zandstra through some rocks

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale 360 Fly) leading Derek Zandstra through some rocks (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kerry Werner (Kona) and Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) dealing with one of the muddy sections of the course

Kerry Werner (Kona) and Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) dealing with one of the muddy sections of the course (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM TLD Scott) riding through the “Rock no Roll” section

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM TLD Scott) riding through the “Rock no Roll” section (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Payson McElveen (Ridebiker) riding to a top twenty finish today

Payson McElveen (Ridebiker) riding to a top twenty finish today (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nic Beechan (Trek) crossing a flyover but later DNF’d

Nic Beechan (Trek) crossing a flyover but later DNF’d (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Maximillian Brandl (Lexware) riding to victory in the U-23 Men’s race

Maximillian Brandl (Lexware) riding to victory in the U-23 Men’s race (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Martin Loo (Hawaii Express) was happy with his first UCI win.

Martin Loo (Hawaii Express) was happy with his first UCI win. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM TLD Scott) riding to a 6th place finish

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM TLD Scott) riding to a 6th place finish (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Martin Loo (Hawaii Express) hammers up the Alp d’Huez climb for the final time

Martin Loo (Hawaii Express) hammers up the Alp d’Huez climb for the final time (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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There were many seasoned World Cup racers in the field, (L to R) Marcel Guerrini (Focus), Markus Schulte-Lanzum (Focus), Florian Vogel (Focus), Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox), Jeremy Martin (Focus), Russell Finstererwald (SRAM)

There were many seasoned World Cup racers in the field, (L to R) Marcel Guerrini (Focus), Markus Schulte-Lanzum (Focus), Florian Vogel (Focus), Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox), Jeremy Martin (Focus), Russell Finstererwald (SRAM) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Cole Oberman (Team Ridebiker) at the start

Cole Oberman (Team Ridebiker) at the start (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Keegan Swenson (Cannondale 360 Fly) leading on the starting loop.

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale 360 Fly) leading on the starting loop. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Riders head up a gravel path onto the course

Riders head up a gravel path onto the course (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Lukas Baum (UCI MTB) leading on the first climb

Lukas Baum (UCI MTB) leading on the first climb (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Lukas Baum (UCI MTB) leading a group of four at the top of the first mountain climb

Lukas Baum (UCI MTB) leading a group of four at the top of the first mountain climb (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Florian Vogel (Focus) taking command on lap one.

Florian Vogel (Focus) taking command on lap one. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Andrew L’esperence (Norco Factory Team) riding in fifth position during lap one

Andrew L’esperence (Norco Factory Team) riding in fifth position during lap one (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Eventual winner Martin Loo (Hawaii Express) from Estonia was riding in the third group duing the first lap.

Eventual winner Martin Loo (Hawaii Express) from Estonia was riding in the third group duing the first lap. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Markus Schulte-Lanzum (Focus) riding to a 7th place finish

Markus Schulte-Lanzum (Focus) riding to a 7th place finish (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kerry Werner (Kona) crossing one of the many bridges

Kerry Werner (Kona) crossing one of the many bridges (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Florian Vogel (Focus) trying to chase down Martin Loo (Hawaii Express)

Florian Vogel (Focus) trying to chase down Martin Loo (Hawaii Express) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremy Martin (Focus) crossing a bridge near the end of lap four

Jeremy Martin (Focus) crossing a bridge near the end of lap four (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Veteran Florian Vogel (Focus) finished second to Martin Loo today. Both had to overcome high temperatures and mud.

Veteran Florian Vogel (Focus) finished second to Martin Loo today. Both had to overcome high temperatures and mud. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

Martin Loo (Hawaii) took his first UCI win at the Windham Mountain Pro-XCT in a massive come-from-behind effort. Veteran World Cup racer Florian Vogel (Focus Bikes) finished second, 1:38 behind Loo. Lukas Baum (UCI MTB) rode consistently to claim third place. Andrew L'Esperence (Norco Factory Team) finished fourth, while Georg Egger (Lexware Mountain Bike) rounded out the podium in fifth place.

Americans were shut out of the podium, although Russell Finstereald (SRAM-TLD-Scott) finished in sixth place.

Temperatures in excess of 90 degrees F, high humidity, mud, and threatening rain impacted on the race. 20 of 53 starters did not finish due to a variety of issues including heat and punctures.

Rising star Keegan Swenson (Cannondale 360 Fly) took the hole-shot on a grassy start and led the peloton onto a starting loop. Lukas Baum took control at the riders headed up the long climb known as Alp d'Huez.

As they crested the mountain, a group of four that did not include Loo had broken away. In addition, Swenson and L'Esperence had been gapped by the pacemaking of Baum.

Near the top of the climb Florian Vogel asserted himself and began what looked like a winning move. Loo was riding in the third group, but began to pick off riders ahead of him.

Loo commented on what happened when he reached Vogel, "I did not really attack, but just rode my pace." Apparently the pace was just too high for Vogel, who surrendered more than a minute to the Estonian.

By the third lap, the race had strung out somewhat and the final podium positions were set.

In previous editions of the race at Windham, climbing seemed to rule the day. However, for last year's World Cup, new sections of trail were added including "Rock no Roll," a rock garden with no obvious lines and sharp rocks. Technical ability became much more important on the revised course.

With Pro-XCT series leader Rapheal Gagne in Rio for the Olympics, it was uncertain if he would hang onto the title. In the end he did, as the three riders trailing him also did not attend. Only Derek Zandstra could have potentially passed Gagne in the standing, but that required a first place finish which did not happen. Zandstra finished in eighth place.

Maximillian Brandl (Lexware) won the U-23 race, which was run at the same time as the Elites. Marc-andre Fortier was second in that contest.

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