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PRESCOTT, Arizona (VN) — It wasn’t beginner’s luck at all, just pure climbing power that led Annika Langvad (Specialized) to victory in her first start at Whiskey Off-Road Sunday.
“It was really amazing,” said Langvad. “It’s actually my first race in the rainbow jersey since I won those stripes last year. So it’s a great honor to be here.”
The world mountain bike marathon champion finished about 90 seconds ahead of local rider Chloe Woodruff (Stan’s No Tubes). Erin Huck (Construction Zone) finished third, about three minutes later.
The Specialized squad went into the race holding two aces, between defending champion Kate Courtney and Langvad. The duo won the Asaba Cape Epic stage race earlier this winter, setting them up with phenomenal form for the spring. However, on the route’s first major singletrack descent, about 10 miles in, Courtney was knocked out of contention by a flat tire.
Courtney, 22, did a quick repair and carried on, but she summited the descent into Skull Valley in fifth place, never to see the leaders again.
“I was actually after the short track race [fat tire crit] two days ago where I got this asthmatic attack, I was being very careful at the beginning not over-pacing it at all,” said Langvad. “All of a sudden Kate, my teammate, had a flat tire, and the other two girls just set the pace and I followed.”
So it was Langvad, Huck, and Woodruff that pacelined into the valley, where they would do a turnaround and then climb back up the loose, rough dirt road that they’d just descended.
Facing windy conditions on the long climb up from the course’s low point, about 23 miles into the 48-mile route, the racing was tactical.
Woodruff and Huck tried to attack Langvad multiple times, but the Danish world champ held her fire and followed wheels. About three miles from the summit, Langvad made her move, leaving the two Americans behind.
“The girls just kept attacking and counter-attacking, and I made sure just to stay with them,” Langvad said. “Towards the end of the climb, I didn’t put in a massive attack, I just made a high, steady pace.”
Woodruff, winner of Friday’s fat tire crit, followed Langvad’s move and kept the pace for a while but eventually fell off the pace.
“We were not working at all together on that climb. It definitely could have been a lot faster out there, but no one wanted to really work,” said Woodruff, noting that the wind was a factor. “Annika couldn’t, she wouldn’t be in the wind at all. So Erin and I were attacking, trying to make her bridge back.”
Huck later said she was completely out of water in the final quarter of the course, parched by the windy conditions and high altitude.
The leader Langvad had no trouble with the final 10 miles of technical descending and rode to victory with time to salute the crowd.
“I kind of knew that I could be really fast on all the singletrack,” said Langvad. “I did that descent Thursday so I kind of knew what to expect.”
The Epic Rides Series continues May 18-20 at the Grand Junction Off-Road in Colorado.
Whiskey Off-Road 2018 results: Pro women
- 1. Annika Langvad, SPECIALIZED RACING, 03:27:25
- 2. Chloe Woodruff, STANS, PIVOT, MAXXIS, SHIMANO, ASSOS, NATURAL DELIGHTS, 03:29:03
- 3. Erin Huck, CZ RACING, SCOTT, GU ENERGY, STAN’S NOTUBES, MAXXIS TIRES, STAGES CYCLING, 03:31:53
- 4. Kate Courtney, SPECIALIZED RACING, 03:35:51
- 5. Larissa Connors, RIDEBIKERALLIANCE, CARMICHAEL TRAINING SYSTEMS, SRAM MTB, KENDA TIRES, 03:42:29
- 6. Sofia Gomez-Villafane, PIVOT CYCLES, STAN’S NOTUBES, MAXXIS TIRES, 03:42:54
- 7. Elyse Nieuwold, PENDREL RACING, RACE FACE, GARNEAU, 03:42:55
- 8. Evelyn Dong, SPRY CYCLES, STANS NOTUBES, POC, MAXXIS, SR SUNTOUR, CARBO ROCKET, 03:43:05
- 9. Amy Beisel, ORANGE SEAL, KENDA, VOLER, 03:45:25
- 10. Crystal Anthony, MAXXIS TIRES, SHIMANO, PARLEE, SMITH, 03:46:21
- 11. jennifer smith, KENDA, CANNONDALE, STAN’S NOTUBES, 03:50:21
- 12. Serena Gordon, LIV, SRAM, SCHWALBE, 03:50:49
- 13. Carla Williams, JOE’S BIKE SHOP, 03:53:34
- 14. Kaysee Armstrong, LIV CYCLING, 03:54:54
- 15. Amy Chandos, 03:57:50
- 16. Megan Chelf, 9:ZERO:7, 04:00:50
- 17. Hannah Finchamp, CLIF BAR, 04:02:20
- 18. Sparky Moir Sears, PIVOT CYCLES, MRP, ERGON, 04:02:47
- 19. Marlee Dixon, PIVOT/ PEARL IZUMI, 04:05:42
- 20. Emma Maaranen, KS-KENDA WOMENS ELITE TEAM, 04:09:00
- 21. Lauren Komanski, 04:11:15
- 22. Chloe Cross, TEAM WHISTLER, 04:13:32
- 23. Kristen Kollus, PIVOT CYCLES, 04:15:38
- 24. Chase Edwards, FLAGSTAFF BICYCLE REVOLUTION, MAXXIS TIRES, 04:15:40
- 25. Ami Stuart, STORM CYCLES PARK CITY, 04:25:17
- 26. Lisa Leonard, 04:26:52
- 27. Tracie Nelson, 04:28:14
- 28. Isabella Oleksy, SCHEELS P/B SCRIMSHAW TATTOO, 04:28:48
- 29. Mari Chandler, ADVENTURE MEDICAL KITS, 04:30:12
- 30. Ashley Carelock, AMY D FOUNDATION, 04:31:06
- 31. Jenny Gerow, SCHEELS P/B SCRIMSHAW TATTOO, 04:48:06
- 32. Samantha Welter, SCHEELS P/B SCRIMSHAW TATTOO, 05:00:21