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Rose Grant defends title at Leadville Trail 100 MTB

Moriah Wilson and Sarah Sturm round out the podium.

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Rose Grant sped away from her rivals to win her second consecutive title at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. Grant had marked Leadville as her focus for the season. After falling back on Columbine in a highly competitive women’s field, the Montana native paced herself to come back in on Powerline for the solo win ahead of Moriah Wilson in second and Sarah Sturm in third.

“The depth of field really made it a different race,” she said. “In 2019 I just self-paced and it was enough to have a significant lead so I wasn’t pushed out of my limit. This year, I was at my max.”

Grant had been dropped on Columbine, choosing to stay within her limits in what proved to be a smart move racing at altitude. Katerina Nash, Sturm and Wilson had launched ahead on the climb.

By the top of Columbine, the top women were within a couple of minutes of each other. By the time the lead contenders reached Powerline, Katerina Nash had lost contact with the lead group, along with Hannah Finchamp.

Rose Grant at the 2021 Leadville Trail 100 MTB Photo: Brad Kaminski | VeloNews.com

“I was just trying not to let them get too far while trying to be smart,” Grant said of Columbine. “Sarah, Moriah, and I went into Powerline together. I slowly pulled away and was able to maintain my gap. Coming into the finish, I buried myself in the last 2 miles giving everything I had. I am super happy to take the win again!”

Sturm had been leading the group heading up Columbine in her second participation at Leadville. She would soon hit a wall and lost the lead on Powerline. She shared her frustration at the finish line, having lost several other races this season in a similar fashion.

“I went 20 minutes faster than last year, but didn’t place as well,” she said. “I came uncorked on Powerline on the way back. It was really hot and there’s only so much you can do. I knew I was in the hurt zone and just watched Rose ride away. We didn’t exchange many words but she’s such a strong competitor, I knew she was the one to watch. The number of races that I have been leading and then didn’t win this season is unreal. I am proud of everyone out there. It was a really competitive women’s field, which is badass!”

Grant’s win was one of the first major victories for her since joining Juliana-SRAM’s mountain bike team earlier this season.

Top-10 results

1. Rose Grant, 07:23:57
2. Moriah Wilson, 07:27:32
3. Sarah Sturm, 07:30:56
4. Hannah Finchamp, 07:45:13
5. Katerina Nash, 07:47:39
6. Melisa Rollins, 07:48:29
7. Helena Gilbert-Snyder, 08:04:05
8. Serena Gordon, 08:06:45
9. Jasmin Duehring, 08:15:08
10. Kaysee Armstrong, 08:31:06