Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) opened the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group at the Subaru of Georgetown Mellow Johnny’s Classic with victories in the elite men’s and women’s cross country mountain bike races on Saturday in Dripping Springs, Texas.
The elite women’s cross country race kicked off the first round of racing in the brand new US domestic series on a sunny and warm afternoon. Nash and two of her Luna Chix teammates, Catharine Pendrel and Georgia Gould, formed a decisive breakaway on the first lap of the five-lap UCI Category 1-level women’s race, but Nash and Pendrel would prove stronger and rode away from Gould.
For the rest of the race, Pendrel and Nash traded efforts, but on the final lap, Nash proved the stronger of the two women and won sprint to the finish, two seconds ahead of Pendrel. Gould rolled in solo for third place over four minutes later.
Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) worked her way up throughout the race to finish in fourth place while Erin Huck (Tokyo Joe’s/VC Graphix.com) put in an impressive fifth place performance to secure the final podium spot.
In the elite men’s race later in the afternoon, the young Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing) surprised his elders by leading out the first lap at a blazing pace. Swenson’s efforts created a lead group of about a half dozen riders; a chase group pursued the leaders but never could close down the gap.
Unfortunately, Swenson’s luck ran out when he flatted on the far side of lap 2 of the six-lap race. That left Plaxton, Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox), Todd Wells (Specialized), Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Derek Zandstra (Scott-3Rox) as the leaders.
Freshly back to elite racing, Sam Schultz (Sho-Air/Cannondale) was putting in a strong ride and had worked his way up to sixth place when he also flatted three and a half laps into the race.
The fireworks began on the last lap, and Plaxton launched his winning attack on the final main climb, then held off fellow Canadian Kabush by two seconds at the finish. Wells followed in third another eight seconds later.
It was Plaxton’s fourth-ever victory at the Mellow Johnny’s Classic.
“Texas is good for me! It’s great to start off this season, my first with Cannondale Factory Racing, and this great new series with a win!” said Plaxton, post-race.
Bishop and Zandstra could not match the pace of the top three on the last lap and fell back a bit, blown by their first big national-level race effort of the season. Bishop rolled in alone to claim fourth place while Zandstra held onto fifth place.
USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group Series Standings
After round one of four of the USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group series, the series standings match the results of the initial race. Plaxton leads the series ahead of Kabush and Wells while Nash leads the series ahead of Pendrel and Gould.
The USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group series will continue with round 2, a UCI Category HC race at Bonelli Park in California on Saturday, March 15.
Subaru of Georgetown Mellow Johnny’s Classic Results
1 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team 1:21:19
2 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team 1:21:21
3 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team 1:25:47
4 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing 1:26:46
5 Erin Huck (United States) Tokyo Joe’s/VC Graphix.com 1:27:21
1 Max Plaxton (Canada) Cannondale Factory Racing 1:28:00
2 Geoffrey Kabush (Canada) Scott-3Rox Racing 1:28:02
3 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Racing 1:28:10
4 Jeremiah Bishop (United States) Sho-Air/Cannondale 1:28:25
5 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott-3Rox Racing 1 29:07
USA Cycling US Cup Series Standings
1 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) Luna Pro Team 25 points
2 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) Luna Pro Team 22 points
3 Georgia Gould (United States) Luna Pro Team 20 points
4 Emily Batty (Canada) Trek Factory Racing 18 points
5 Erin Huck (United States) Tokyo Joe’s/VC Graphix.com 16 points
1 Max Plaxton (Canada) Cannondale Factory Racing 25 points
2 Geoffrey Kabush (Canada) Scott-3Rox Racing 22 points
3 Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Racing 20 points
4 Jeremiah Bishop (United States) Sho-Air/Cannondale 18 points
5 Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott-3Rox Racing 16 points
Visit SoCalCycling.com’s Mountain Bike Calendar for more events.
Above Photo – A Luna Chix 1-2 for Katerina Nash and Catherine Pendrel.
Photo by Sho-Air Cycling Group