Cycling's Pro XCT started its 2nd stop of the 5-race tour on a sunny morning in
Southern California this past Saturday, with the top Cat 1 racers going off at
Women staged under warm and sunny skies and were set to start at 11:30 am.
With many top international pro's choosing to travel to South Africa for
the following weekend's World Cup opener, Bonelli Pro XCT saw a diverse crop of
talented racers from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and even South
Africa. There was a vast group of U23 women on hand as well.
gun went off and racers charged hard on the pavement toward the start lap, with
one racer missing a sharp 180 from dirt to grass before the group sped back
through the start/finish to begin lap 1 of the 5 lap race.
through the feedzone to start off lap 1 was South African Mariske Strauss (Pepper Palace.Spin-Tech
Training p/b ABR) leading
So Cal local Allison Mann (Bikes for Boobs / Rock N' Road) and Canadian
Andreanne Pichette (Opus-OGC/Equipe Quebec). Charging hard in the chase
group was New Zealander Jennifer Smith, Zephanie Blasi, Andreane Lanthier
Nadea, and Erin Huck.
racers set out on course up Bonelli's first steep fire road climb that quickly
funneled into tight singletrack. Strauss still led, with Pichette
attacking, and Mann following. After a short descent around a tight
90-degree turn Pichette went in a tad too hot coming off the bike, and Mann
squeaked through to charge up toward the course's first rocky descent.
Not looking back, she charged the back side singletrack overlooking
stretched out her lead on lap 2, as the chase group of Blasi and Huck formed.
Unsure of the time splits and pushing the pace a little too hard, Mann
went down hard on the far side rocky descent. After getting back on the
bike, she continued her solo flight to the finish.
lead never changed, with Mann finishing 1st, taking her first Pro XCT win,
ahead of WXC World Racing's Zephanie Blasi and Toyko Joe's Erin Huck.
Jamie Busch and Andreanne Pichette rounded out the podium.
menís event also saw a group of fresh faces at the front. Even with the top
pros being in South Africa, Saturdayís event included a strong international
group with Canada, Mexico, and the US being represented at the front.
surprise move American Ryan Woodall (Top Gear Bicycles) jumped out front and
held the lead for the opening half of the race.
27-year old Woodall, from Ocala, Florida, hammered off the front of the race. A
stalwart on the South East Regional Championship series, Woodall impressed many
with his ability to stay out front for the opening laps of the race.
pace eventually got to him as Ignacio Torres (Turbo) and Colin Cares (Kenda/Felt)
surged past the quickly fading rider.
out front the experienced Torres, who has been successful on the US national
circuit for years, took control of the race with Cares never far behind.
the end Torres took the win by just 20 seconds over Cares.
Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Factory) took third followed by Emmanuel Valencia
(Turbo) and Kerry Werner (BMC Developmental).
After two rounds of the Pro XCT Colin Cares and Zephanie Blasi are now leading the series.