It was a hectic scene Saturday as UC Cup organizers hastily rescheduled Sunday’s elite XCO races to take place a day early. With dangerous winds forecast for the following day, the elite women assembled on the start line for the final XCO of the weekend.
Jenn Jackson turned this into an opportunity, taking her second silver in as many days. The Canadian national champion chased, caught, but couldn’t quite pass Cape Epic winner Sofia Gomez Villafane.
Elite Women US Cup XCO: Gomez-Villafane flys solo
Saturday is the second rescheduling of this US Cup week. With Wednesday’s racing moved to Thursday, also due to weather, the elite women lined up for their third race in three days.
Savilia Blunk (Orange Seal) was ready for the early start, storming off the line with Laurie Arseneault (Canyon MTB) on her heels. Haley Batten (Specialized) quickly closed down the gap to Thursday’s XCO winner. The red-and-white national champion’s jersey of Jenn Jackson sat fourth wheel. A frantic pace meant the front of the race was constantly changing on the windy, wide-open start loop. Haley Smith and Emily Batty also both showed up on the front of the race.
Going out onto lap one, Sofia Gomez-Villafane (Specialized) and 2018 world champion Kate Courtney (Scott-SRAM) were the aggressors, pushing the pace and stringing out the field. Villafane, recently returned from winning the Absa Cape Epic, attacked early on lap 1 and quickly created a sizeable gap.
Courtney led the chase with Jenn Jackson and Alexis Skarda (Santa Cruz) in her wheels. Blunk, Gwen Gibson (Norco Factory Team) and Batten followed in a third group.
With two laps to go, the chase group had whittled down to Kate Courtney and Jenn Jackson. Gomez-Villafane held a 22-second advantage. Savilia Blunk chased 36 seconds back.
Jackson chases a win
As the women headed out onto the final lap, Blunk joined the chasing duo. Jackson responded quickly, going off the front in pursuit of Villafane and a more secure podium spot.
The Canadian national champ steadily bridged the gap to Villafane, but was unable to get past the Argentine. With Blunk closing in behind, having passed Courtney, there was no chance to let up the pace.
Sofia Gomez-Villafane found one more burst of energy coming into the finish area, creating just enough of a gap to celebrate her win.
Jenn Jackson crossed the line second, repeating her result from Friday’s Short Track XC.
Savilia Blunk, winner of Thursday’s XCO claimed third with Kate Courtney following in fourth and Haley Batten fifth.
Haley Smith (Maxxis Factory Racing) was the second Canadian across the line, finishing eighth. Emily Batty crosed shortly after. Mackenzie Myatt (Cyclesmith) had a strong ride in 14th. Emilly Johnston (Norco Factory Team), an under-23 racing with the elites, finished 16th. Juliette Tétreault (Equipe du Quebec / ACQ) in 19th added one more Canadian result in the top-20.
Elite women results (Unofficial): Moosejaw US Cup – Saturday, April 23
|1.||GOMEZ VILLAFANE Sofia||Specialized Off-Road||1:15:07|
|2.||JACKSON Jennifer||Canyon MTB Racing Team||1:15:16 +09|
|3.||BLUNK Savilia||Orange Seal Off-Road Team||1:15:35 +28|
|4.||COURTNEY Kate||Scott-SRAM MTB Race Team||1:16:03 +56|
|5.||BATTEN Haley||Specialized Factory Racing||1:16:14 +1:07|
|6.||GIBSON Gwendalyn||Norco Factory Team||1:16:28 +1:21|
|7.||SKARDA Alexis||Santa Cruz Bicycles||1:17:37 +2:30|
|8.||SMITH Haley||Maxxis Factory Racing||1:18:02 +2:55|
|9.||BATTY Emily||Canyon MTB Racing Team||1:18:31 +3:24|
|10.||HOLCOMB Ruth||Bear National Team||1:19:27 +4:20|
|11.||URBAN Kelsey||Team 31||1:19:58 +4:51|
|12.||QUINN Natalie||Meta by BJC||1:20:56 +5:49|
|13.||ROBERSON Madelyn||Team Durango Segment 28||1:21:46 +6:39|
|14.||MYATT Mackenzie||Cyclesmith Cycling Club||1:22:09 +7:02|
|15.||FORNEY Sofia||WE Development||1:22:23 +7:16|
|16.||JOHNSTON Emilly||Norco Factory Team||1:23:34 +8:27|
|17.||SMITH Tai Lee||Bear National Team||1:24:25 +9:18|
|18.||TÉTREAULT Juliette||Équipe du Québec/ACQ||1:24:27 +9:20|
|19.||MALONEY Madison||Lightning Cycles||1:24:38 +9:31|
|20.||THOMPSON Michaela||Team Durango Segment 28||1:24:59 +9:52|
|21.||RODRIGUEZ Erika||Zerouno factory||1:26:30 +11:23|
|22.||SARRAZIN Julianne||Vélo Pays d’en Haut||1:27:21 +12:14|
|23.||OLSON Emma||Canyon Devo Racing||1:27:22 +12:15|
|24.||HIJAR-MARIN Fátima Anahi||Fundacion Amando el Deporte by ASD||-2|
|25.||LAROSE GINGRAS Juliette||Ponsse||-2|
|26.||WENGER Sydney||The Black Bibs||-2|
|27.||NIELSON Sydney||Riders Inc.||-2|
|28.||MEDINA Estefania||Liv – Giant Mexico||-2|
|29.||MCSPADDEN Bayli||Vail – Independent||-2|
|30.||WALCROFT Katelyn||Hardwood Next Wave||-2|
|31.||EDWARDS Paige||Bear National Team||-2|
|32.||STEINER Mckenzie||USA Cycling Olympic Development Academy||-2|
|33.||ROBLES MARQUEZ Isabella||Tokyo Joes Racing Team||-3|
|34.||HYSER Isabella||Bear National Team||-3|
|35.||BRADBURY Nicole||Canyon Devo Racing||-3|
|36.||GORDON Olivia||Gordon Racing Project||-3|
|37.||MILELLI Ariana||USA Cycling Olympic Development Academy||-3|
|38.||KEMP Aunika||USA Cycling Olympic Development Academy||-3|
|39.||SCHWAB Emma||Hagerty Cycling||-3|
|40.||KUSHITAMA Soha||Kushitama Racing||-3|