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Olympic athletes take to local trails for new pro mountain bike series

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Max Plaxton USA Cycling US Cup
Max Plaxton of Cannondale Factory Team celebrates his win as he crosses the finish line. Photo by Charlie L. Harper III
Craig Wohlschlaeg US Cup Mountain Bike Race
Only a handful of riders chose to jump this particular obstacle — a crowd-pleasing feature — instead of maneuvering around it. But when they did, the audience roared its approval. Photo by Charlie L. Harper III
Elite men riders in USA Cycling
Riders in the elite men’s division haul around a bend at the kick-off race. Photo by Charlie L. Harper III
Carlos Vega USA Cycling US Cup
Category 3 competitor Carlos Vega of Richmond, Texas, briefly rests his neck as he crosses the finish line in third place in his division. Photo by Charlie L. Harper III
Emily Batty Cycling Cup
Emily Batty of Trek Factory Racing came in 4th in the Category 1 women’s pro race. Photo by Charlie L. Harper III
Luna Pro team USA Cycling US Cup
Moments after crossing the finish line to win the women’s pro race, Katerina Nash of Luna Pro Team tosses her bike and herself to the ground to catch her breath. Photo by Charlie L. Harper III
Classic amateur race USA Cycling US Cup Mountain Bike
After a flat on the course during the Mellow Johnny’s Classic amateur youth race, which took place before the pros, Curtis Schaffer, 16, of Lake Travis, carries his bike across the finish line. Photo by Charlie L. Harper III
Max Plaxton USA Cycling US Cup
Craig Wohlschlaeg US Cup Mountain Bike Race
Elite men riders in USA Cycling
Carlos Vega USA Cycling US Cup
Emily Batty Cycling Cup
Luna Pro team USA Cycling US Cup
Classic amateur race USA Cycling US Cup Mountain Bike

Olympic and world-class athletes from around the world hit the trail this weekend in Central Texas to make mountain biking history. Cyclists had a shot at winning the richest cross-country pro mountain bike series in the world, and the first series of its kind in North America, the USA Cycling U.S. Cup Mountain Bike Race Series.

With an $81,000 purse and valuable UCI World Cup points at stake, top mountain bikers converged on the Flat Creek Ranch just outside of Dripping Springs for the first race of the four- race series. “Racing against the best racers in the world will also help the Olympic hopefuls elevate their skills, fitness and strategy ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janiero,” said Scott Tedro, owner of the Sho-Air Cycling Group, which is organizing the series.

Three-time Olympian Katerina Nash of Luna Pro Team took the top title in the women’s event on Saturday, while Olympian Max Plaxton of Cannondale Factory Team won the men’s division. You can see all the winners here.

The new series was hosted as part of the Mellow Johnny’s Classic, sponsored by the bike shop in downtown Austin.

The next race will be on March 15-16 at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California. The third round is in Fontana, California, March 23-24 during the Fontana City National.
The series concludes with Round 4 on Colorado Springs on June 28.

 

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