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Canada’s Catharine Pendrel was the strongest rider in the women’s cross-country race Saturday in Val di Sole, Italy — until the last lap, that is.
At that point, Maja Wlosczcowska (CCC Polkowice) made the moves that ultimately launched her past Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) for a victory five seconds ahead of Canada’s national XC champion.
Although she lost the victory on the last lap, Pendrel is back in the World Cup overall leader’s jersey as the series heads to the final round Aug. 28 in Windham, New York. Willow Koerber (Subaru-Trek) is in third overall and Eva Lechner (Colnago-Sudtirol) is in second.
On Saturday, however, Pendrel set out from the get-go to lead the race. A group of riders including Luna teammates Georgia Gould and Katerina Nash tried but failed to bridge the gap. Gould would end up drifting back to finish seventh, but Nash ended up battling Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) and Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens) for higher podium spots.
While Pendrel and Wlosczcowska traded leads on the last lap, Kalentieva, Compton and Nash were trading spots as well. Ultimately it was Kalentieva who had the power, gaping Compton in the closing moments for third place finishing 14 seconds off the lead. Compton was 20 seconds behind the winner, finishing fourth in her best performance on a bike since suffering baffling leg cramps in the 2009-10 cyclo-cross season. Nash capped the podium in fifth place nearly a minute back.
Overall, it was a another successful day for North American racers. Along with Pendrel, Compton, Nash and Gould, Marie-Helene Premont (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) and Willow Koerber (Subaru-Trek)finished in the top-10 at eighth and tenth respectively.
North American women: Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven) was 13th; Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) 18th; Emily Batty (Trek World Racing) 21st; Amanda Sin (3 Rox Racing) 34th; Chloe Forsman (Tokyo Joe’s) 41st.
The 2010 World Cup finale is Aug. 28-29 at Windham Mountain, New York. It’s the first World Cup to be held in the United States since Angle Fire, New Mexico in 2005. The mountain bike world championships are the following weekend at Mont Ste Anne, Quebec.