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Sea Otter ’11: Batty and Wells Win XC

Big first win for Emily Batty while Todd Wells ends long Otter dry spell

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Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) reacts to what she later described as the biggest win of her career. Photo by Wil Matthews

WOMEN’S XC GALLERY

MEN’S XC GALLERY

While Emily Batty won her first ever elite cross-country race Saturday at the Sea Otter Classic Pro XCT, it was another story altogether for Katie Compton at her first national XC event of 2011.

Batty, the 2010 Canadian U23 champion, is racing her first season for Subaru-Trek and delivered the biggest win of the year for the team as well as the biggest win of her career. Batty edged out the 2010 overall World Cup cross-country champ Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) in a sprint after  racing for more than an hour and forty minutes.

“My dreams are slowly coming closer,” Batty said after her victory. “But time will tell. I’m feeling pretty good.”

The Sea Otter cross-country course incorporated a good portion of the Laguna Sega racetrack, which meant that much of the mountain bike contest involved road-race tactics. Riders needed to ride in groups or risk being isolated on the pavement where a steady wind was doing its best to slow things down.

“We were working together out there quite a bit,” Batty said of the lead group that included Pendrel and her Luna teammates Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash.

Gould burped her rear tire, however, and dropped back deep into the field while she ran her bike to the tech zone. Gould, who won Friday’s short-track XC, fought back, however, and finished eighth on the day. Nash held on for third place.

Compton, meanwhile, was running in the top five until the middle of the seven lap race when she was stung by a bee and was literally knocked out of contention. Riding in her first race for the Rabobank-Giant Off-Road team, Compton went into anaphylactic shock.

“Huge thx to the guys who helped me on course today and especially the girl with the Epi pen, cant thank u enough!!! Feels good to be alive!” Compton wrote on her Twitter account Saturday night after the race.

Men’s Race

Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) led from the gun. Photo: Caley Fretz

After more than a decade of racing the Sea Otter Classic, Todd Wells finally bagged a victory at the spring celebration of cycling.

“Finally won the Sea Otter XC after trying since 1998,” Wells said. “Just goes to show, never give up.”

Wells won the short-track cross-country race last year at Sea Otter. This year it was his Specialized Factory Racing teammate Max Plaxton who took that victory on Friday. At Saturday’s XC event, both Specialized riders were on the front of the race for most of the event with Cannondale rider Jeremiah Bishop.

With it being two against one, the Specialized riders could kept Bishop in check either by covering any of his moves or launching their own attacks.

“I know road tactics,” Bishop said. “And even though I would have liked Wells to have pulled more, I probably wouldn’t have raced differently if I was up there with a teammate.”

In the end though it was a crash in a sun-to-shade section of singletrack that was Bishop’s undoing. Even though the veteran rider went down hard and injured his hand , he still managed third place behind Plaxton and Wells.

Meanwhile, in a move spurred by his strong spring cross-country performances, Bishop said he will travel to South Africa for next weekend’s first World Cup of the 2011 season.

BRIEF RESULTS: MEN’S ELITE XC

1 TODD WELLS SPECIALIZED FACTORY RACING 1:40:00
2 MAX PLAXTON SPECIALIZED FACTORY RACING 1:40:53
3 JEREMIAH BISHOP CANNONDALE FACTORY RACING 1:41:49
4. ADAM CRAIG RABOBANK-GIANT OFFROAD 1:42:07
5. SAM SCHULTZ SUBARU-TREK 1:42:54
6. JEREMY HORGAN-KOBELSKI SUBARU TREK 1:42:55
7. STEPHEN ETTINGER BMC DEVO 1:42:04
8. LACHLAN NORRIS GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD 1:44:06
9. ADAM MORKA TREK CANADA 1:44:08
10. KERRY WERNER  BMC DEVO 1:44:08

BRIEF RESULTS: WOMEN’S ELITE XC

1 EMILY BATTY SUBARU – TREK 1:41:22
2 CATHARINE PENDREL LUNA PRO TEAM 01:41:23
3 KATERINA NASH LUNA PRO TEAM 01:44:09
4 LEA DAVISON SPECIALIZED 01:45:34
5 KELLI EMMETT GIANT FACTORY OFF-ROAD 01:45:34
6 HEATHER IRMIGER SUBARU-TREK 01:45:34
7 PUA MATA SHO-AIR/SPECIALIZED 01:45:35
8 GEORGIA GOULD LUNA PRO TEAM 01:48:51
9 MICAL DYCK PRO CITY RACING 01:49:28
10 AMANDA CAREY KENDA/FELT 01:51:15