West Dover, Vt. (July 20, 2007)—With her victory, McConneloug became the first two-time winner of the event since USA Cycling adopted the single-day national championship format in 2004. Her last title was in 2005 in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Entering the event fresh off her silver-medal performance at the XV Pan American Games last weekend, McConneloug opened up an early lead over the remainder of the 43-rider field before finishing the 15-mile contest with a winning time of 2 hours, 6 minutes and 59 seconds. Defending champion Georgia Gould
(Ketchum, Idaho/Luna) finished 1:17 off McConneloug’s pace to claim the silver, while Willow Koerber
(Horseshoe, N.C./Subaru-Gary Fisher) placed third, 3:57 back.
photo Chris Milliman
“I’m so excited, this was my main focus for the season,” McConneloug said. “My primary goal was to get that national championship back.”
Faced with three laps of a five-mile circuit at Southern Vermont’s Mount Snow Resort, McConneloug immediately pushed the pace and had a 23-second gap over Koerber and a 30-second buffer over Gould after the first loop. One lap later, McConneloug’s advantage had increased to 1:05 over Gould, while Koerber dropped slightly off the pace to third position, 1:30 back. Throughout the final lap, McConneloug’s lead continued to grow despite the sloppy course conditions after overnight rain showers.
“Basically, from my previous title, I just remembered not to get caught behind anyone and just find the right cadence and ride my own pace,” McConneloug explained of her tactics. “The conditions were good, the mud was so soft you could just sort of float right through it.”
McConneloug’s win at Mount Snow Resort was her second in as many years, winning the cross country race at the National Mountain Bike Series event in 2006. It was also her third-career national cross country title, winning the overall points classification in the now-defunct National Championship Series in 2003.
Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) finished fourth, 7:41 down, while recently crowned USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Champion Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo./Luna) rounded out the top five, 8:15 back.
McConneloug’s victory will also earn her an automatic nomination to represent the U.S. at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Fort William, Scotland in September, joining Koerber and Gould who have previously qualified with top-five finishes in World Cup competition this season. The top-three finishers in Friday’s national championships also have the U.S. ranked number one in the world in women’s mountain bike racing with Gould currently ranked fourth in the world ahead of McConneloug (7th) and Koerber (9th).
In the women’s U23 event, reigning Division I collegiate national champion Chloe Forsman (Tucson, Ariz./Luna) improved upon her second-place finish a year ago to win the national title. Forsman clocked a winning time of 2:32:19 to beat runner-up Caitlyn Tuel (Boulder, Colo./Trek-VW) by 4:27. Natasha Cowie (Dawsonville, Ga./Velo Bella) placed third, 6:09 off the pace.
In the junior expert categories, two athletes will also earn automatic nominations to the U.S. National Team for the world championships after winning their respective events on Friday – Ethan Gilmour (Ludlow, Vt./Devo-Okemo) and Stephanie White (Bedford, N.H./Velo Bella).
In the pro women’s dual slalom qualifier, Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz./KHS) was the fastest woman and earned the top seed ahead of Kathy Pruitt (Lake Almanor, Calif./Jamis) and Lisa Myklak (Boulder, Colo./Leelikesbikes.com). The finals of the pro men’s and women’s dual slalom are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. local time on Saturday night.
2007 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships brought to you by X-Fusion
Mount Snow Resort
West Dover, Vt.
Pro Women’s Cross Country
1. Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass.) 2:06:59
2. Georgia Gould (Ketchum, Idaho) +1:17
3. Willow Koerber (Horseshoe, N.C.) +3:57
4. Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo.) +7:41
5. Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo.) +8:15
U23 Women’s Cross Country
1. Chloe Forsman (Tucson, Ariz.) 2:32:19
2. Caitlyn Tuel (Boulder, Colo.) +4:27
3. Natasha Cowie (Dawsonville, Ga.) +6:09
4. Jamie Dinkins (Powell, Tenn.) +7:02
5. Sabrina Kraushaar (Durango, Colo.) +25:25
Junior Expert Women’s Cross Country
1. Stephanie White (Bedford, N.H.) 1:46:35
2. Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) +1:05
3. Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo.) +5:26
4. Lydia Tanner (Boulder, Colo.) +5:29
5. Deidre York (Indio, Calif.) +10:39
About USA CyclingThis Article Published 2007-07-20 20:48:09 For more information contact: email@example.com
Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 60,000 members and 2,500 annual events. USA Cycling associations include the BMX Association (BMX), National Off-Road Bicycle Association (mountain bike), U.S. Cycling Federation (road/track), the National Collegiate Cycling Association and the U.S. Professional Racing Organization (professional men’s road). For more information, visit www.usacycling.org or contact USA Cycling Director of Communications, Andy Lee at 719-866-4867.