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Missoula UCI cross country mountain bike race completes first day with short track races

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MISSOULA — The Missoula UCI cross country mountain bike race at Marshall Mountain got rolling Friday with some tight finishes on the short track.

On the men's side there was a neck-and-neck finish between 24-year-old Cole Patton and 27-year-old Tobin Ortenblad. For the first three laps the two were separated by seconds, appearing to trade spots here and there throughout the early part of the race.

Just when it looked like Ortenblad pulled away with a 14-second advantage after lap four, Patton cut it back down with an 11-second win in lap five to make up some of the lost time.

The two traded spots and leads for much of the rest of the 11-lap race until Patton pulled out a win in 25:48.27, edging out Ortenblad's time of 25:49.54 by a minuscule difference of 1.27 seconds. Lagging behind the top two finishers was 26-year-old Luke Vrouwenvelder who crossed the finish line just around two seconds behind first with a mark of 25:25.30 to snag third place.

Over on the women's side, it wasn't as close at the top compared to the finish the men had.

Chloe Woodruff, 34, took the win in 26:39.18 while Rose Grant, 39, finished second in 26:46.41, about seven seconds behind Woodruff. Hannah Finchamp took third in 27:22.58 to round out the top three finishers.

Austin Beard, 18, finished first in the men's junior race for ages 17 and 18, in 21:12.76 just ahead of second-place finisher Jack Spranger who finished 21:13.20 in another tight call. Brayden Johnson took third in 21:13.84.

Bailey Cioppa snagged first in the women's junior with a time of 28:40.78 while Lauren Aggeler took second in 29:26.12. Mia Aseltine finished third in 29:29.99.

Scenes from the Missoula XC UCI mountain bike competition at Marshall Mountain on Friday, June 11, 2021. Music by Travis Yost (themightytravis.com)

The event continues Saturday with the cross country race and will open with the pro men at 10 a.m., followed by the pro women at about 1 p.m. and later the top junior men ages 17-18 will race at 4 p.m. and the top junior women will go at 6 p.m.

Lance Hartzler covers Griz men's basketball and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter at @lance_hartz or shoot him an email at Lance.Hartzler@406mtsports.com.

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