Blevins & Courtney win Pro XCT titles; Pro GRT to wrap up next month


Following the Mountain Bike National Championships at Snowshoe, W.Va. in mid-July, the USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross-Country Tour (Pro XCT) and Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) calendars remained on the East Coast for multiple summer events.

The Pro XCT bookended nationals, with the Eastern Grind in Catamount, Vt. on July 15 and the Boston Rebellion U.S. Cup in Walpole, Mass. on July 29. The 10th and final event of the year was held in Windham, N.Y. at Windham Mountain Resort Aug. 12-13, with Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo./Specialized Factory Racing) taking the men’s pro overall title and Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif./Specialized Racing) winning the title for pro women. Complete standings are here.
The Pro GRT features the best downhill racing in the country. So far, six of the seven stops on the 2017 calendar are complete. Results have been tabulated for two signature events for Pro GRT, Beast of the East in Killington, Vt. (July 27-30) and Windham Pro GRT in Windham, N.Y. (Aug. 12-13). The downhill season will conclude at the Kamikaze Bike Games in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Sept. 15-16. Up-to-date standings available here.

Between stints with his Axeon Hagens Berman professional road racing team, 19-year-old Blevins took back-to-back wins at the Eastern Grind and Boston Rebellion U.S. Cup to secure the overall Pro XCT title for men. The two victories catapulted him over early points leader Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Cannondale-3Rox), who finished just 27 points behind Blevins.
Swenson earned three consecutive wins on the Pro XCT early in the season, including his hometown race in Midway, Utah at the Tech Dev Pro XCT.  Through mid July, Swenson held a slight six-point lead over his closest competitor, Russell Finsterwald (Colorado Springs, Colo./SRAM-Troy Lee Design). Finsterwald suffered a season-ending injury after racing in the Missoula Pro XCT event, but his 160 total points from the first half of the season were enough for third place overall.
Nicholas Beechan (Idyllwild, Calif./Trek Test Team) finished fourth and Daniel McConnell (Australia) and Anton Cooper (New Zealand) finished in a tie for fifth. McConnell won the Men’s Pro XCT event at Windham to move into a tie with Cooper, just one point behind Beechan.
Twenty-two-year-old Courtney opened the year in April by winning the Fontana City National in California, and held the top spot all season as the Women’s Pro XCT points leader. Like Blevins, Courtney took victories at both the Eastern Grind and the Boston Rebellion U.S. Cup events. She also scored a national title in women’s pro Cross-Country event in West Virginia.
Rose Grant (Columbia Falls, Mont./Stans NoTubes - Pivot), who captured the win at the fifth stop in the Pro XCT series in Missoula, finished 110 points behind Courtney for second place. She had two podiums at the Vt. and Mass. events.
Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo./Cannondale-3Rox), who won the Short Track Cross-Country national title in July, did not compete in the final three Pro XCT events. Her 220 points, including a win at Bonelli Park U.S. Cup, gave her a third-place finish. Alexis Skarda (Grand Junction, Colo./ Stans Kenda Elite), who won the Tech Dev Pro event in Utah, finished in fourth place. Sofia Gomez Villafane (Durango, Colo./Summit-Competitive Cyclist) was fifth overall, earning points for Top 4 finishes early in the season at Tech Dev Pro in Utah, Missoula XC in Montana and Chile Challenge in New Mexico.
Pro Cross-Country (XCT) Final Standings
Elite Men
1. Christopher Blevins (Specialized)
2. Keegan Swenson (Cannondale-3Rox)
3. Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-Troy Lee De
4. Nicholas Beechan (Trek Test Team)                                                        
5. Daniel McConnell (Australia)                                                                    
5. Anton Cooper (New Zealand)                                                            
Elite Women
1. Kate Courtney (Specialized Factory Racing)                                            
2. Rose Grant (Stans NoTubes - Pivot)                                                     
3. Erin Huck (Cannondale-3Rox)                                                                  
4. Alexis Skarda (Stans NoTubes - Pivot)                                                    
5. Sofia Gomez Villafane (Assos-Pivot Cycles)                                            

Pro GRT points leader Angelina Palermo expanded her lead in the Women’s Pro GRT standings by taking two bronze medals at the last two events, the Beast of the East in Killington, Vt. and the Windham Pro GRT in the Catskills Mountains of New York. The big movers since the Mountain Bike National Championships in mid-July were Frida Helena Roenning (Indianapolis, Ind./ Canfield Brothers/Lillehammer) and Ella Skalwold (East Hardwicke, Vt./ Transition Bikes Kingdom Trail). The 22-year-old Roenning jumped to second overall with consecutive victories in Vermont and New York.
Skalwold, who finished second at both downhill events, moved to fourth place in the overall standings. She was just two points behind Caroline Washam (Mooresville, N.C./ Liv/Spoked), who dropped into third place.
Samantha Kingshill (Sacramento, Calif./ College Cyclery/Truckerco/Dvo/Vittoria) moved to the fifth spot overall. Jill Kintner (Bellingham, Wash./ Redbull/Norco/Shimano/Fox), who won the Women’s Pro Downhill national title in July, moved down two spots in a tie for seventh position with Kialani Hines (Auburn, Wash./Tid/Tigatu/Fox/Deity/Maxxis).
In the Men’s Pro GRT, the top-ranked riders in the Pro GRT standings for men kept pace with each other at the Beast of the East and Windham Pro GRT. Bruce Klein (Altadena, Calif./KHS Factory Racing), who was fifth in Vermont and second in New York, maintained a 20-point margin over Shane Leslie (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./ Michigan Bicycle Racing Assoc.), as they continued 1-2 in the individual standings. Logan Binggeli (St. George, Utah/KHS Factory Racing) continues in third place, 71 points behind the leader.
With a second-place finish in Killington, Kiran MacKinnon (Santa Cruz, Calif./ Santa Cruz Bicycles) overtook Austin Hackett-Klaube (Dillon, Colo./Specialized.FoxMTB.Dirt Labs) for fourth place to round out the Top 5.
Pro Mountain Bike Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) Standings (through Aug. 14, 2017)
Elite Men
1. Bruce Klein (KHS Factory Racing)                                                          
2. Shane Leslie (Michigan Bicycle Racing Assoc.)                                      
3. Logan Binggeli (KHS Factory Racing)                                                      
5. Kiran MacKinnon (Santa Cruz Bicycles)                                                   
4. Austin Hackett-Klaube (Specialized.FoxMTB.Dirtlabs)                            
Elite Women
1. Angelina Palermo    (Dirt Harry's/Specialized)                                        
2. Frida Helena Roenning (Canfield Brothers/Lillehammer)                        
3. Caroline Washam   (Liv/Spoked)                                                              
4. Ella Skalwold (Transition Bikes Kingdom Trail)                                        
5. Samantha Kingshill (College Cyclery/Truckerco/ Dvo/ Vittoria)               

This Article Updated August 28, 2017 @ 04:34 PM For more information contact: