A dispute of giants! This was certainly the summary of the Elite races of the 2023 Pan American Mountain Bike Championship, held in the city of Congonhas (MG) and which ended this Sunday, April 30. The stars of this film were the American Kate Courtney and the Mexican José Gerardo Ulloa, who had already won the XCC dispute on Friday, and once again showed overwhelming pedaling to win another gold medal, this time in XCO.
With their sights set on qualifying for the Pan American Games in Santiago de Chile, in addition to adding important points in the ranking towards the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the best athletes did not disappoint the local public and staged a beautiful dispute for the title.
In the women’s race, just after two laps out, Kate Courtney and Kelsey Urban accelerated into the lead. With all the support of the local public, which was very vibrant, Raiza Goulão pedaled hard with the aim of not allowing her opponents to open up a great advantage.
Kate again showed that she had a lot of gas and ended up making a break for the second lap. Kelsey and Raiza then had a beautiful fight for second position for practically the final 3 laps. And, for the second time at this Pan Am, Kate stood her ground and won her second title in the competition.
“Once again I had a lot of fun. It’s fantastic to race here in Brazil, this crowd is super warm, the track was just the way I like it, more humid. Certainly after the race on Friday I had a lot of confidence for today,” so that I tried to concentrate to make as few mistakes as possible”, said the 2023 Pan-American XCC and XCO champion.
For Raiza, the competition was a true test for the great challenges of this season. “I gave it my all on the track, I am very satisfied with the race I did. All the girls from Brazil are in luck. The race was very close, several countries in a position to win. I could feel my level, what needs to improve to reach there to gold and we are going to go up because the World Cup is soon”, said the Brazilian.
In the men’s race, the experienced Henrique Avancini, the Chilean Martín Vidaurre and the Mexican José Gerardo Ulloa prevailed and took the lead just after two laps out. But as they started the full laps of the circuit, José Gabriel from Brazil and Gunnar Holmgreen from Canada were also close to the leaders, entangling the dispute and forming the first great field of the race.
Just like in the XCC race, Ulloa opted to attack early on and opened up a good lead on his opponents on the second of 6 laps. The fight then concentrated on the Top 5, with several position alternations during the final 3 laps.
With a fully controlled race and a very strong pace, Ulloa took the final flag with a time of 1:27:05. Second place went to Canadian Gunnar Holmgren, who finished just after 1:27:45, and third place went to Argentine Contreras Fernando, who finished in 1:28:48.
“I did a preparation in some races in Puerto Rico, which had similar characteristics to what we would find here in the Pan American Games. After these commitments we began a more specific preparation, with shorter and more intense training sessions, with a more competitive environment. stage, already thinking about the rivals. Thank God everything went as planned”, said the double gold medalist in this edition of the Pan American Games.
With the massive participation of Brazilian cyclists and an excellent technical level in various categories, Brazil also won the inter-nation title of the 2023 Pan American Mountain Bike Championship. The country won 41 medals, 14 gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze.
Second place in the ranking by nations went to Mexico with 8 medals, 4 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze. Third, Chile, with 6 medals, 2 gold and 4 silver.
The 2023 Pan American Mountain Biking Championship was organized by the Brazilian Cycling Confederation (CBC) under the supervision of the Pan American Cycling Confederation (COPACI) and the International Cycling Union (UCI), with the sponsorship of the Municipality of Congonhas.
Source: Ana Patricia/Brazilian Cycling Confederation