US Olympian Lea Davison (Specialized) used her superior fitness and "home court advantage" to walk away with the Pro XCT race victory in Windham, Vermont on Saturday afternoon. Canadian World Cup racer Amanda Sin (Scott 3Rox Racing) tried to keep Davison in her sights, but ultimately had to watch the Vermont native motor away. Sin finished her consistent ride in second place.
New England cyclo-cross star Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing), racing in her first ever Pro XCT race, rode in alone to claim third place. Erica Tingey (Jamis), currently in second place in the series, seemed to struggle early in the race but then moved up to take the fourth spot on the podium. Haley Smith (Norco Factory Racing) also moved up in the field to claim fifth place.
The World Cup course at Windham Mountain is renowned for its overall quality and water management. Riders cross many wooden bridges over what typically are the wettest parts of the course. The weather this weekend saw intense downpours soak the course, particularly overnight. The grassy open portions of the course became boggy, which proved to be energy sapping for the riders on the climbs. The wooded sections of the course, particularly the downhills, were muddy with slick rocks and roots.
Course conditions improved throughout the day as the sun came out to dry things out a bit. Some women could be seen running a couple of the technical descents rather than risk crashing.
From the starting gun, Davison took the lead and threw down the gauntlet on the first climb to the top of the mountain. Sin was close at first, but had to settle into her own pace.
"Lea was just cruising. I could see her on that open grass climb, but she kept getting further and further away. I knew she was just in a different race today." said Sin after the race.
"It was super fun. I think the bit of rain (overnight) we had didn't make the course treacherous or anything. It was just fun riding. It was awesome," said Sin.
Behind the leaders, a serious battle was taking place for the remaining podium spots. Anthony out-climbed most of the field to put herself in the third position. Mo Bruno-Roy (Cycle Loft), Tingey, and Haley Smith traded positions behind Anthony as each seemed to have different strengths on the course. It appeared that Tingey was going to be robbed of a podium position, but she moved up late in the race to claim fourth place, while Bruno-Roy slipped back.
Davison, who finished 4:44 ahead of second place, never let up on her pace. She seemed determined to get in a typical World Cup effort despite her massive lead.
"I love this course. It's definitely challenging," said Davison after the race. "There's a ton of climbing, so it's real east coast riding. I was just having a blast and pushing it because the girls in this field were very competitive."
While Davison pulled away on the climbs, her descending skills were also in a different league. "I was trying to push it on the climbs, and then dial in the descents more and more and have fun. This is technically my home course, along with the (Pro XCT) finals at Catamount (Vermont)."
Davison has emerged as a solid World Cup racer this year, posting a couple eighth-place finishes on the circuit. When asked about what it was going to take to get to the next level, she said, "I'm right there, I'm very close. It's just going to take everything coming together on that one day."
"I always come up for the end of the season, but at the beginning of this season I was clocking in results that I would normally get at the end of the season. I'm definitely looking forward to the last couple World Cups."
It is expected that Chloe Woodruff (Crank Brothers) will retain the lead in the Pro XCT series despite having skipped the Windham race. She currently has a commanding lead over Tingey.
The next Pro XCT race will be the Subaru Cup held at Mt. Morris, Wisconsin the weekend of July 13th.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing)||1:46:08|
|2||Amanda Sin (Scott-3 Rox Racing)||0:04:44|
|3||Crystal Anthony (Riverside Racing)||0:11:20|
|4||Erica Tingey (Team Jamis)||0:14:30|
|5||Haley Smith (Norco Factory Team)||0:15:53|
|6||Maureen Bruno Roy||0:16:10|
|7||Maghalie Rochette (Powerwatts Nord)||0:17:50|
|10||Nicole Thiemann (Team CF)||0:22:21|
|11||Bryna Blanchard (Windham Mountain Cycling Club)||0:22:26|
|12||Cayley Brooks (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team)||0:24:19|
|13||Andrea Fuentes Moreno (Trek Bicycle Mexico)|
|DNF||Elizabeth Allen (Danielson Adventure Sports)|
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