Georgia Gould came as close as you can get to winning a World Cup at Windham in 2012. With a commanding lead, she flatted near the finish and had to watch her teammates pass her as she finished on foot. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but today Gould put in the same kind of dominating performance, and it paid off with her biggest win of the year.
Gould was the only American to make the podium. Behind her was Hungary's Barbara Benko (Focus) who finished in second place. U.K. Champion Annie Last (OMX Pro Team) finished in third place. Canadians wrapped up the remaining podium spots with Haley Smith (Norco Factory Team) in fourth place, and Rebecca Beaumont (Cyclone D'Alma) in fifth position.
In a bit of a switch from normal, the Elite Women raced at 3:00, after the Elite Men's race. The race conditions were oppressive with heat, humidity, and mud. More than one rider would be seen walking during the race because they were overheated.
Haley Smith took the hole-shot on the uphill grassy start and led the riders out onto a starting loop. By the end of that starting loop, Barbara Benko took the lead and held it well into the first lap.
When the riders reached the top of the track for the first time, Benko had about a ten-bike-length lead over Gould. Annie Last trailed Gould by at similar margin.
Gould commented on the race, "This is just a fun racecourse and a fun venue. I was really disappointed that it wasn't a World Cup this year. But luckily I had an opening in my summer and was able to come race it anyway," she joked after missing out on the selection for the Rio Olympic Team.
"Everyone was seeing how everyone was feeling. It's pretty hot. I was feeling pretty good but I wanted to ride within myself so I didn't really attack. I caught up to Barbara on the first descent. I went around her and just rode my own race."
Gould rode her Orbea hardtail to give her an advantage on the climbs, while the vast majority of her competitors were on full suspension bikes. Despite not having full suspension, Gould was at least as fast as the others through the incredibly difficult "Rock no Roll" section of the course.
Larissa Connors (Team Ridebiker) finished in eleventh place, but had enough points to hold off Georgia Gould and win the Pro-XCT series championship.
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