Gunnar Holmgren earned a hard-fought bronze medal on Friday in the men’s short track cross country continental championships. The Ontario rider’s race was very nearly cut short Henrique Avancini lost traction in some mud and sent the Canadian into the course tape mid-race. Holmgren recovered and worked through the field to take the final podium position in a sprint.
Canadians raced on the front in both men’s and women’s XCC events on Friday, taking the race to a very strong international field in Brazil.
Elite Women XCC
Friday’s racing started with Jenn Jackson doing her best to take the race to a strong front group of U.S. and Brazilian racers. Kate Courtney, Kelsey Urban and Sofia Waite put the stars and stripes on the front early, controling the pace of the field until Jackson moved through. Laurie Arseneault, Sandra Walter and Jocelyn Stel all followed in the lead group behind Jackson.
Courtney quickly re-took the front of the race and, for the next several laps, the U.S. riders and Brazil’s Raiza Goulao Henrique and Karen Fernandes Olimpio set the pace.
Jenn Jackson then put in a big late-race attack which was quickly followed by Courtney. The group started to spread out and Areseneault, then Stel and Walter dropped off the lead rider’s pace.
Courtney was the next to attack. Jackson looked to force Urban to respond, which she eventually did, but could not close the gap to her fellow U.S. racer.
Kate Courtney led onto the bell lap and would not be caught. Urban contested the sprint against Henrique and Olimpio.
Kate Courntey wins the women’s Pan American XCC championship. Raiza Goulao Henrique earns silver for the host country while Kelsey Urban adds a second medal for the U.S.A. in third.
Jenn Jackson leads the Canadians in fifth followed closely by Jocelyn Stel in seventh, Sandra Walter in 11th and Laurie Arseneault in 18th.
The men’s XCC event began with Canada’s Carter Woods on the front row flanked by an international field of talent, including Chile’s u23 World Cup overall winner Martin Vidaurre, Mexico’s first World Cup winner, Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo and Brazil’s World Cup winner, Henrique Avancini.
Ulloa led off the line before a sketchy moment in a mud puddle that would remain problematic all race let…
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