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By Joe Zauner
The Navigators’ Glen Mitchell and Suz Weldon (Ashmead College) took the third stage of Montana’s Ecology Classic near Missoula on Sunday.
It was a day of racing that saw the scheduled fourth staged cancelled due to severe thunderstorms. Race leaders Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators) and Becky Broeder (Intermountain) held on to their positions as overall race leaders.
While Mitchell and Weldon both won on Sunday’s technical, 8.3-mile time trial course, the two riders come from different ends of the spectrum in terms of experience.
Mitchell, a two-time New Zealand national road champion, has more than 14 years of international bicycle racing under his belt. Weldon, on the other hand, is a relative neophyte. This is just her second full season of bicycle racing. She is a Category 3 amateur raced the Ecology Classic as a Cat. 4 last year.
Mitchell posted a time of 15 minutes, 56 seconds, defeating his teammate and race leader Swindlehurst (16:34). Saturday’s stage winner Jeff Louder (Navigators) posted the third-fastest time (16:35) followed by HealthNet’s Rusty Beall (16:43) and Colby Pearce from 5280/Subaru (16:48).
The impact to the general classification was minimal. Marc Bomoff (Ciclismo-Headwinds), who was third before the time trial 58 seconds off the lead, slipped to fourth after posting an 18:06. Beall vaulted into third, now 2:03 off the lead. Pearce is second on GC at 54 seconds.
Weldon’s clocking of 18:22 was only seven seconds faster than runner-up Eryn Hanna (Los Gatos). Katheryn Curi (Los Gatos) was third (19:05) while national U23 time trial champion Alison Beall (Rusty’s sister) from Worlddiff.com took fourth at 19:13.
Race leader Broeder was fifth (19:16).
Like the men, the impact to the women’s overall was minimal. Broeder still leads her teammate Liza Rachetto by 2:42. Eva Karau (Team Stampede/Five Valley Velo) is third, at 3:48. Curi’s strong performance vaulted her from sixth to fourth, 4:18 back. Weldon is in seventh place, 5:28 off the pace.
Wild mountain weather
The scheduled Frenchtown Circuit Race got underway as planned later in the afternoon on Sunday but a severe thunderstorm dumped rain and hail, cut visibility to 20 meters and, eventually, forced race officials to call a halt to the race.
The men took shelter at an Interstate truck stop. The women holed up under an overpass. It took more than 35 minutes for the storm to pass and when it did officials decided to cancel racing for the day.
Monday’s final stage is a miss-and-out criterium in Missoula. This stage has a history of mixing up the general classification. Last year Jonny Sundt, then riding for Broadmark, overcame a one-minute defecit on GC to win the overall after he soloed to victory in the miss-and-out.
1. Glenn Mitchell (Navigators) 15 minutes 56 seconds
2. Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators) 16:34
3. Jeff Louder (Navigators) 16:35
4. Rusty Beall (HealthNet) 16:43
5. Colby Pearce (5280/Subaru Development) 16:48Overall, after 3 stages
1. Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators) 6 hours 59 minutes 01 seconds
2. Colby Pearce (5280/Subaru Development) at 54
3. Rusty Beall (HealthNet) at 2:03
4. Marc Bomoff (Ciclismo/Headwinds) at 2:30
5. Ryan Guay (Navigators) at 0:34
1. Suz Weldon (Ashmead College/King 5 TV), 18 minutes 22 seconds
2. Eryn Hanna (Los Gatos) 18:29
3. Katheryn Curi (Los Gatos) 19:054
4. Alison Beall (Worlddiff.com) 19:13
5. Becky Broeder (Intermountain Cycling Organization)Overall, after 3 stages
1. Becky Broeder (Intermountain Cycling Organization) 5 hours, 26 minutes, 26 seconds
2. Liza Rachetto (Intermountain Cycling Organization) at 2:42
3. Eva Karau (Team Stampede/Five Valley Velo) at 3:48
4. Katheryn Curi (Los Gatos) at 4:18
5. Mary Kneeland (Intermountain Cycling Organization)