Nino Schurter (Scott-ODLO) and Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) emerged from the marathon-style Sea Otter Classic mountain bike course on Saturday to win round four of the USA Cycling US Cup.
“Sea Otter is such a cool event,” Pendrel said after her race. “It’s great to see the kids out there on bikes, to see all our sponsors and to put on such a good show for the fans … I love it!”
Elite Men’s Race
A dozen of the world’s top riders formed a selection early on in the men’s race on the first of two long laps. A number of younger riders were in the mix, notably Howard Grotts, Sam Gaze, and Simon Andreasson (all Specialized), Andri Frischknecht (Scott-ODLO), Russell Finsterwald (SRAM 1 TLD), and Keegan Swenson (Sho-Air/Cannondale).
After the first lap, the group was stretched and whittled down. Only Geoff Kabush (Scott 3 Rox) was able to keep the pace set by a surging Schurter, who pushed on alone after reaching the singletrack.
Schurter would later be joined by Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) and Grotts for a final showdown on the Laguna Seca track, where the multiple-time world champion was the strongest of the three in a sprint for the win. Raphael Gagne (Rocky Mountain Bicycles), currently leading the USA Cycling US Cup series, finished the race in fifth.
“The first lap was quite slow and we were a big group,” said Schurter. “Kabush helped me get to the front on the second lap. I attacked and got away a bit on the singletrack and got caught by McConnell and Grotts.
“The end was a three-up sprint that went well … great racing! It’s a good way to finish my American trip. My next race is a Bundesliga race in Heubach, a tough race with a lot of climbing, so I’m looking forward to that as well.”
Elite Women’s Race
The women’s field took off twenty minutes after the men for two laps of the same loop. Many of the favorites were present in the lead group of seven as they went through the first lap with Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) in the lead. The decisive race action took place on the second time up the main climb, as Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) pushed hard with Pendrel on her wheel. The group broke apart steadily throughout the lap, with Pendrel taking the lead. The Luna Pro Team rider crossed the line first, followed by Henderson, Jenny Rissveds (Scott-ODLO), Chloe Woodruff (Stan’s NoTubes-Niner) and series leader Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing).
“Rebecca [Henderson] was first wheel and was setting a hard pace on the second time up the climb and I heard something behind us,” said Pendrel. “Emily was with us for a while but slipped off so we went for it. It was nice and cool out there today compared to Bonelli and Fontana so that was nice.”
Raphael Gagne and Emily Batty maintain USA Cycling US Cup leads
After round four of the USA Cycling US Cup presented by Cannondale series, Raphael Gagne Emily Batty retain their respective leads in the USA Cycling US Cup. The series will continue with round five, a UCI Category HC race, in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Saturday, June 27.