Bishop wins Windham Pro XCT after slugfest with Wells

Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air Cannondale) took the overall lead in the Pro XCT series after dispatching Todd Wells (Specialized) on lap five of the six-lap race in Windham on Saturday afternoon. Derek Zandstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) was well positioned to take second place after Wells faded to third place. Stephen Ettinger (BMC Swiss) finished fourth after suffering an over-the-handlebar crash on the second lap. Canadian Antoine Carron (Specialized) was fifth.

Coming into the race, Wells led Bishop in the Pro XCT standings by a mere 15 points in the series with nobody else really in contention. Wells had won in Fontana and at the Bump N Grind, while Bishop took the series opener at Bonelli Park. Each knew that whoever was victorious at Windham would have the series lead.

The course at Windham was pounded with rain much of the week but due to the numerous bridges and world-class course design, it remained rideable. As the sun popped in and out all afternoon, the more exposed portions of the course dried out. In the woods, however, water running off the mountain made the rocky, rooty trails extremely challenging.

Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain) took the hole-shot, but within the first few minutes Bishop assumed the lead. By the end of the first lap, they had a small gap over Ettinger, Zandstra, Howard Grotts (Specialized) and Carron. Grotts then crashed on lap two and withdrew from the race with a leg injury. Ettinger was riding a hardtail and found that he could climb close to the leaders.

Ettinger said, "We had a good tempo going on the first lap. I was able to sit on their wheels on the climbs. I wasn't out of the saddle as much when we were climbing, but it doesn't matter if you can't ride with them on the descents."

"Coming through on the second lap, J.B. [Bishop] took kind of a weird chicane line, and it got me off mine. I ended up going over the handlebars, and those guys got 15 seconds or so. I thought I could reel them in, but those guys had dualie bikes, and I was kind of bouncing around in the woods."

Zandstra seemed to ride the most consistent laps of the leaders. "I let the gap go and probably should have pushed a little harder," he said. "I was a little concerned about the heat because this race can really cook you and once you blow it's really tough."

He kept close to the leaders with great descending. "I rode the full suspension so I could really capitalize on the downhill. I caught Stephen, I could tell he was a bit blown then. At the end, I could see Todd in the distance and had heard he had gotten gapped. So I said 'OK, I can capitalize on this.'"

Bishop was a man on a mission today. "It's a really tough race. I wanted to put some pressure on with two (laps) to go, and I got a gap," he said. "When you get a gap, you've just got to go with it sometimes. On the downhills, I wanted to put some pressure on just to keep it hard. I didn't know if I would get any gap. I was really trying to find a chink in his armor but he was riding really, really well. I was looking for opportunities and I could hear him breathing."

Bishop said, "I got through the 'Blackout' section really clear and fast and hit the shift really perfect. I felt like I could stand out of the saddle on all the steep pitches today, which is very different than last weekend. I just kept knocking on the door. Once I got a sniff of a gap, I just went with it."

Wells conceded after the race that he was simply beaten today. After being passed by Zandstra, he seemed to regain his tempo and maintain position for the remaining one and a half laps.

Bishop is committed to compete at the final two races of the series and is targeting a win of the Pro XCT series. Wells is not sure if he will be at both Catamount and the Subaru Cup due to his World Cup schedule, and he is planning to race again at the Leadville 100.

Full Results

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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jeremiah Bishop (Team Sho-Air Cannondale)1:42:38
2Derek Zandstra (Scott 3 Rox Racing)0:00:36
3Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing)0:01:04
4Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team)0:04:26
5Antoine Caron (Specialized Racing)0:05:44
6Justin Lindine (Redline / NBX)0:07:21
7Mitchell Hoke (Kenda/Felt)0:08:05
8Mitchell Bailey (Trek Canada)0:08:10
9Peter Glassford (Trek Canada)0:08:30
10Kerry Werner (BMC U23 development MTB team)0:09:21
11Cameron Dodge (Scott Pro MTB Team)0:09:51
12Nicholas Waite (Pro Tested Gear)0:10:22
13Ryan Woodall (Top Gear Bicycles)0:10:46
14Hector Riveros (Twenty2 Cycles)0:11:03
15Joseph Moloney0:11:14
16Benjamin Forbes (CyclinicKenmore Cycles)0:11:44
17Ernie Watenpaugh (Tokyo Joe's)0:12:00
18Billy Melone (Riverside Racing)0:12:37
19Cole Oberman (
20Menso De Jong (Team Clif Bar Cycling)0:16:04
21Christian Favata0:16:35
22Robert Mccarty (AG Factory Racing)0:18:21
23Christopher Hamlin (Bicycle Express/Kona)0:20:07
24Colin Cares (Kenda/Felt)0:20:46
25Kenneth Hall0:21:07
26Gered Dunne (Mason Racing)0:22:03
27Steven Noble (OPUS/OGC)0:23:29
28Daniel Sturm (black bear cycling)0:24:58
29Connor Bell (Rocktown Racing)0:24:59
30Mike Montalbano0:25:00
31Ben Williams (CCI Racing/Town Cycle)0:25:02
32Zachary Morrey0:25:03
33Jordan Kahlenberg (Giant Mid-Atlantic Off-Road)0:25:04
34Filippo Barbieri (Brazilian National Team)0:49:58
35Matthew Williams (Epic Brewing/
DNFJean-Philippe Thibault-Roberge (CVM 2 Vals)Row 35 - Cell 2
DNFRaphaã«L Gagnã© (Rocky Mountain Factory)Row 36 - Cell 2
DNFThomas Sampson (Pemi-Baker Cycling Club)Row 37 - Cell 2
DNFAdam Snyder (Adigga Racing)Row 38 - Cell 2
DNFCasey Williams (W hole Athlete/Whole Athlete)Row 39 - Cell 2
DNFHoward Grotts (Fort Lewis College)Row 40 - Cell 2
DNFJohn BurnsRow 41 - Cell 2

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