Plaxton and Pendrel take early Pro XCT lead
The USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) kicked off the mountain bike season this weekend with the Subaru of Georgetown Mellow Johnny's Classic in Johnson City, Texas. Canadians Max Plaxton (Specialized Racing) and Catherine Pendrel (Team LUNA Chix) earned wins to take narrow leads following the first of the five-race series.
Plaxton emerged from a duel with Geoff Kabush (CAN/Scott-3Rox Racing) and Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing) to win the Mellow Johnny's Classic for a third straight time, despite the new Flat Creek Ranch venue. Mid-way through the event Plaxton and Kabush were able to ride away from USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Champion Wells and soon the three-time champ was riding out front alone. Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont./Subaru-Trek) won a battle with Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Cannondale Factory Racing) for the final podium spot behind another Canadian Derek Zandstra (Scott-3Rox Racing).
World champion Pendrel rode to a comfortable win on a plesant Texas day. American Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team) jumped out front early, but suffered a series of mishaps that saw here fall back to fifth place. Judy Freeman (Littleton, Colo./Crankbrothers Race Club) rode nearly flawlessly over the rocky, technical singletrack, slowly making her way through the field and into second place, just 44 seconds behind Pendrel. Long distance specialist Monique Mata (Westminister, Calif./Sho-air-Specialized) won the battle with cyclo-cross champion Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Giant-Rabobank) to earn third.
"We worked hard to have a great course that both riders and fans enjoyed," said Ted Arnold, Mellow Johnny's Classic media director. "We couldn't ask for more in terms of response to the event, and the overall vibe. We had an extremely talented field and the racing was fantastic so it makes it easy for us to go into 2013 with a focus and energy to continue to grow the event."
Full results from the Mellow Johnny's Classic.
View more Pro XCT images.
After the first of five events Plaxton and Pendrel establish narrow leads the men's and women's standings with Team Luna Chix holding a slight edge over Team Specialized Racing in the team standings.
USA Cycling Pro XCT Standings:
1. Max Plaxton (CAN/Specialized Racing) - 200
2. Geoff Kabush (CAN/Scott-3Rox Racing) - 190
3. Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing) - 180
4. Derek Zandstra (CAN./Scott-3Rox Racing) - 170
5. Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont./Subaru-Trek) - 160
1. Catherine Pendrel (CAN/Team LUNA Chix) - 200 points
2. Judy Freeman (Littleton, Colo./Crankbrothers Race Club) - 190 points
3. Monique Mata (Westminister, Calif./Sho-air-Specialized) - 180
4. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Giant-Rabobank) - 170 points
5. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team) - 160
1. Team Luna Chix - 46
2. Specialized Racing - 45
3. Subaru-Trek - 40
4. BMC Mountain Bike Development Team - 18
5. Kenda/Felt Pro MTB Team - 11
For complete standings, visit the Pro XCT's official webpage at usacycling.org/proxct.
The Pro XCT will continue next Saturday, March 10 with the US Cup Triple Crown - Bonelli Park, the second of five stops on the 2012 calendar. The Pro XCT races will begin with the women at 11:30 and continue with the men at 1:30 at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, Calif.
Photo: Dave McElwaine/Trailwatch.net