Round #2 of the Pro XCT series saw a host of new faces at the front of the pack, and first time winners in both fields with the absence of many last weeks top ten riders opting to prepare for the upcoming world cup next weekend in South Africa.
In the women’s race, local Allison Mann made the best of home track knowledge and good form to her runaway with the first Pro XCT win of her career.
Mann got to the front of the women’s field and simply road away to a convincing solo win on her Boobs 4 Bikes/Rock N Road sponsored Specialized bike.
Behind Mann, was a see saw battle between several riders, which was finally wrestled away by Stephanie Blasi of the WXC World racing team for second.
But things broke apart late in the five lap race, as the rising heat of the afternoon began to wear on the competitors.
Rounding out the women’s top five were Erin Huck of Tokyo Joes, Jaime Busch and Canadian Andreanne Pichette, of the Opus-OCG team, who was the first U23 women’s rider on the day.
In the Elite men’s race, nearly 70 men rolled up to the line to do battle in the heat of the day at the 1:45pm start. Unseasonably warm weather meant that the six lap affair would also be a battle of the elements.
It was Mexico’s Ignacio Torres of the Turbo team grabbing the bull by the horns and leading the first lap. In pursuit was Torres’ teammate Emmanuel Valencia, chased by Cannondale’s Alex Grant, Sho-Air/Specialized Brendon Davids, along with Colin Cares of the Kenda/Felt team.
Davids was the first to make a mistake, as a dropped chain late into lap one put the young rider back outside the top 10.
Meanwhile, Torres began to extend his lead pushing a furious pace.
On lap three riders were spread out everywhere as the hot weather and technical course took its toll. In the meantime, Sho-Air/Specialized’s Brendon Davids clawed his way back into 8th, passing Trek’s Russell Finsterwald and others as he joined the tail end of a five man group including Menso Dejong, Alex Grant, Ryan Woodall. But that would soon change as Davids went down in the back section, crashing and flatting his front tire.
Meanwhile Torres quietly extended his lead and looked comfortable with one to go, oblivious to the chaos behind. Colin Cares put in a strong ride with a hard chasing Raphael Gagne
End the end, Torres cruised to a 20 second victory, taking the first Pro XCT win of his career, with Colin Cares taking second, followed by Raphael Gagne, Emmanuel Valencia and young Kerry Werner of the BMC development team rounding out the top five, and coming home the first U23 of the day.