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Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) and Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) each won their respective races at the final round of the USA Cycling U.S. Cup Pro Series in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With their victories, Gagne and Pendrel were each able to capture the overall series titles as well.
The elite women’s race was stacked with competition for the final round, as no less than six current national champions were present in the 40-rider field. Chloe Woodruff (Team Stans NoTubes) took the holeshot, but was later passed on the first lap by Luna Pro Team teammates Pendrel and Katerina Nash.
The chase group never really got organized as riders bridged and then fell back off the pace. Woodruff and Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox) stayed consistently together throughout the race, chasing the Luna Pro Team duo. At one point, Larissa Connors (Ridebiker Alliance), Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team), and Rose Grant (Team Stans NoTubes) were all able to join the chase, but they were eventually dropped by Woodruff and Huck.
The race came down to the final lap, as temperatures soared into the 90s. The heat clearly played a factor in the race, as lap times rose from 15 minutes to 17 minutes. Pendrel was able to get free from Nash in the final mile of the race to win solo, and clinch the overall title.
U.S. Pro Cup leader coming into the final round, Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), dropped out after the first lap with what was believed to be difficulty breathing.
The elite men started in the heat of the day, as Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) took the lead early on the first lap and set a searing pace all day. Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-Troy Lee Designs) and Gagne joined Wells in the lead and the trio would battle throughout the race.
Finsterwald and Gagne rarely took a pull, as Wells took the race by the horns and continued to drive the pace. A four-man chase group formed behind with Scott 3 Rox Racing teammates Geoff Kabush and Derek Zandstra teaming up with Team Sho-Air Cannondale teammates Keegan Swenson and Stephen Ettinger. Kabush drove the pace, desperately trying to bridge up to the leaders
On the final lap, Wells finally slowed the pace, and the gap to the chase group shrunk to 15 seconds. Kabush attacked hard out of the chase group in a bid to reach the leaders, but up front, Gagne had a gap. Gagne took the win by mere seconds, as Wells and Finsterwald sprinted to a photo finish. The judges awarded Finsterwald second place and Wells disagreed with the result and filed an official protest, but the results did not change.
Gagne finished off a dominating series, as he won by 81 points. His win in Colorado Springs was he second of the series to go along with two second-places and a fifth-place at the Sea Otter Classic.
Colorado Springs cross-country brief results
1. Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) 1:34:48
2. Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) 1:35:02
3. Erin Huck (Scott-3 Rox) 1:36:35
4. Chloe Woodruff (Team Stans NoTubes) 1:37:18
5. Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) 1:37:41
1. Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) 1:36:28
2. Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-TLD Race Team) 1:36:29
3. Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) 1:36:29
4. Geoff Kabush (Scott 3 Rox Racing) 1:36:30
5. Derek Zandstra (Scott 3 Rox Racing) 1:36:44
USA Cycling U.S. Cup series final standings
1. Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) 175 points
2. Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) 144 points
3. Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) 140 points
4. Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) 138 points
5. Erin Huck (Scott 3 Rox Racing) 130 points
1. Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles) 175 points
2. Derek Zandstra (Scott 3 Rox Racing) 94 points
3. Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) 91 points
4. Stephen Ettinger (Sho-Air/Cannondale) 91 points
5. Sergio Mantecon (Trek Factory Racing) 91 points