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Tyler Orschel third at rescheduled Moosejaw US Cup XCO

Rain, mud and delays can't slow Canyon Devo racer down

The start of Moosejaw US Cup racing may have been delayed by a day, but Tyler Orschel was ready. The Ontario racer flew to a muddy podium in the first XCO in a string of US Cup events in Arkansas this week, crossing the line third behind U.S. short track world champion Christopher Blevins.

Pro Women’s Moosejaw US Cup XCO (Thurs, April 21)

The Pro Women were on course first in Bentonville, Ark. World Cup and, more recently, Cape Epic winner Haley Batten (Specialized Factory Racing) pulled away from the field early, amassing a 40-second lead at one point and stringing the field out behind her.

Slow, muddy conditions made for a longer than expected race, though. With a winning time well over that 90-minute mark, pacing was key. Savilia Blunk (Orange Seal Off-Road Team) nailed pacing to perfection, catching Batten as the pair rode out onto the final lap.

A back-and-forth battle ensued with both riders taking their turn on the front. Batten attacked into the final corners, but couldn’t fend off Blunk’s fresh legs. The Orange Seal rider sprinted, pulling away to take the first win in this week of racing in Arkansas.

“I didn’t have such a fast start, I was on the back of that lead group. There were crashes and mechanicals in that first woods that I was caught behind, and I figured it was all about staying smooth and holding an even pace,” Blunk said after the finish line. “I could see Haley at the top of all those climbs and just focused on slowly reeling her in.”

Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) followed in third. The 2018 world champion crossed the line 2:12 behind Blunk and Batten.

Laurie Arseneault (Canyon MTB Racing) led the Canadian effort in ninth followed closely by teammate and Canadian national champion Jenn Jackson in 10th. Haley Smith (Maxxis Factory Racing) in 12th and Maghalie Rochette finished 13th. Emily Batty in 14th and Cindy Montambault in 15th rounded out the top 15 in Arkansas.

Pro Men’s Moosejaw US Cup XCO (Thurs, April 21)

Christopher Blevins (Specialized Factory Racing) was surrounded by a very Canadian front row at the start of the Pro Men’s race. Carter Woods and Peter Disera (Norco Factory Racing) flanked the XCC world champion. They were joined by Pivot Cycles-OTE’s Gunnar Holmgren and Marc Andre Fortier and Canyon Devo’s Tyler Orschel and Quinton Disera. Riley Amos (Trek Factory Racing) was the only other U.S. rider on the US Cup front row.

Carter Woods takes the holeshot, leading Belvins with Holmgren, Amos and Orschel leading a large group on his wheels. Riley Amos quickly started pushing the pace, with Blevins holding his wheel. Behind, only Woods could come close to holding the U.S. duo’s pace, forming a lead group of three on the first full lap.

By the end of the first lap, Blevin’s had taken the initiative, riding alone off the front. Woods and Amos chased. Behind, a sizeable group of Canadians with Andrew L’Esperance (Norco Factory Racing), Fortier, Orschel and Disera took chase.

From there, the alternately rocky and muddy Arkansas terrain caused chaos for all riders but Blevins. The chasers surges and struggled. Many dropping back quite suddenly.

Blevins held his sizeable advantage all the way to the finish line to take the win. Cole Patton (Orange-Seal Off-Road Team) followed 2:51 later.

Tyler Orschel (Canyon Devo), jersey wide open and flapping in the wind, paced the muddy race expertly. The multi-time US Collegiate national champ takes third on Thursday.

After a long chase with Paton, Andrew L’Esperance held on to finish fourth. Marc Andre Fortier placed fifth. After Stephan Davoust (Giant) broke up the Canadian ranks, Carter Woods rallied from his early efforts to finish seventh. Riley Amos placed eighth followed by Disera in ninth and Gunnar Holmgren rounded out the top 10.

Racing continues Thursday with the junior men’s and women’s XCO events at Moosejaw US Cup p/b Oz Trails. Watch live or catch replays from Arkansas all week on Flobikes.

Results: Pro Women Moosejaw US Cup XCO (Thurs, April 21) Top 30

1. BLUNK Savilia Orange Seal Off-Road Team 1:37:22
2. BATTEN Haley Specialized Factory Racing 1:37:26 +04
3. COURTNEY Kate Scott-SRAM MTB Race Team 1:39:34 +2:12
4. GIBSON Gwendalyn Norco Factory Team 1:42:13 +4:51
5. HOLCOMB Ruth Bear National Team 1:43:17 +5:55
6. MUNRO Madigan Trek Factory Racing 1:43:29 +6:07
7. URBAN Kelsey Team 31 1:43:40 +6:18
8. GOMEZ VILLAFANE Sofia Specialized Off-Road 1:44:02 +6:40
9. ARSENEAULT Laurie Canyon MTB Racing Team 1:44:16 +6:54
10. JACKSON Jennifer Canyon MTB Racing Team 1:44:39 +7:17
11. OTTO Hannah Pivot Cycles and DT Swiss 1:46:32 +9:10
12. SMITH Haley Maxxis Factory Racing 1:46:44 +9:22
13. ROCHETTE Maghalie Specialized / Feedback Sports 1:46:59 +9:37
14. BATTY Emily Canyon MTB Racing Team 1:49:18 +11:56
15. SKARDA Alexis Santa Cruz Bicycles 1:49:27 +12:05
16. MONTAMBAULT Cindy Equipe du Quebec 1:50:27 +13:05
17. QUINN Natalie Meta by BJC 1:51:38 +14:16
18. SMITH Tai Lee Bear National Team 1:55:04 +17:42
19. JOHNSTON Emilly Norco Factory Team 1:59:45 +22:23
20. BRADBURY Nicole Canyon Devo Racing -1 1:35:06 -2:16
21. ROBERSON Madelyn Team Durango Segment 28 -3 1:16:49 -20:33
22. MALONEY Madison Lightning Cycles -3 1:17:09 -20:13
23. SARRAZIN Julianne Vélo Pays d’en Haut -3 1:18:35 -18:47
24. MYATT Mackenzie Cyclesmith Cycling Club -3 1:18:55 -18:27
25. TÉTREAULT Juliette Équipe du Québec/ACQ -3 1:18:56 -18:26
26. LAROSE GINGRAS Juliette Ponsse -3 1:18:57 -18:25
27. OLSON Emma Canyon Devo Racing -3 1:19:29 -17:53
28. THOMPSON Michaela Team Durango Segment 28 -3 1:20:01 -17:21
29. WALCROFT Katelyn Hardwood Next Wave -3 1:20:06 -17:16
30. MCSPADDEN Bayli Vail – Independent -3 1:20:34 -16:48

Results: Pro Men Moosejaw US Cup XCO (Thurs, April 21) – Top 30

1. BLEVINS Christopher Specialized Factory Racing 1:35:58
2. PATON Cole Orange Seal Off-Road Team 1:38:49 +2:51
3. ORSCHEL Tyler Canyon Devo Racing 1:39:46 +3:48
4. L’ESPERANCE Andrew Maxxis Factory Racing 1:40:15 +4:17
5. FORTIER Marc Andre Pivot Cycles OTE 1:40:35 +4:37
6. DAVOUST Stephan Giant Factory Off Road Team 1:40:53 +4:55
7. WOODS Carter Norco Factory Team 1:41:08 +5:10
8. AMOS Riley Trek Factory Racing 1:41:33 +5:35
9. DISERA Peter Norco Factory Team 1:42:04 +6:06
10. HOLMGREN Gunnar Pivot Cycles – OTE 1:42:47 +6:49
11. VROUWENVELDER Lukas Giant Factory Off Road Team 1:43:10 +7:12
12. DISERA Quinton Canyon Devo Racing 1:43:24 +7:26
13. BECKETT Carson Dirt Camp Racing 1:43:53 +7:55
14. BEARD Carson Bicycle Express Racing 1:44:17 +8:19
15. CLARK Owen CHC Armada 1:44:52 +8:54
16. DAY Robbie Bear National Team 1:45:03 +9:05
17. FINSTERWALD Russell Specialized Off-Road 1:45:11 +9:13
18. NELSON Pavel Bear National Team 1:45:17 +9:19
19. DUFOUR Jerry Dirt Camp Racing 1:46:00 +10:02
20. FINCHAM Sean Norco Factory Team 1:46:17 +10:19
21. MOCK Daxton Bear National Team 1:46:36 +10:38
22. CLARK Tyler CHC Armada 1:47:19 +11:21
23. ST ONGE Charles Antoine Équipe du Québec / Siboire 1:48:25 +12:27
24. JOHNSON Brayden Bear national team 1:50:47 +14:49
25. PEREZ Georwill PurMtb Team 1:33:33 -2:25
26. PUNCHARD Cole CHC Armada 1:45:52 +9:54
27. ORTENBLAD Tobin Santa Cruz Bicycles 1:17:47 -18:11
28. VERREAULT Victor Foresco Holding Proco RL Pro Team 1:02:10 -33:48
29. FERNAU Zachary Hatch Toyota 1:02:11 -33:47
30. FREEBURN Cobe Bear National Team 1:03:15 -32:43