March 30, 2014 (Barbacena, Brazil) — Stephen Ettinger (Bozeman, Mont./BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team) and Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Team Kenda – Stan’s No Tubes) both reached the podium on Sunday during the final day of competition at the 2014 Pan American Continental Mountain Bike Championships in Brazil.
In the elite men’s cross-country race, Ettinger moved immediately into the lead group of six riders and stayed near the front until he attacked with three laps remaining and went away on his own. A bit further back, Spencer Paxson (Bellingham, Wash./Kona Factory Team) was having a very good day leading the chase group and passing the riders who were falling off the lead pack. In the end, with a last-lap rainstorm turning the course into a dangerous mess, Ettinger had enough time on his rivals to coast in for a comfortable and well-earned victory. Paxson finished strong to take fifth place and Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass./ Team Kenda – Stan’s No Tubes) crossed the line in 21st.
McConneloug had a strong start in the elite women’s cross-country race and led for the first half in a very hot mid-day race, but she faded to third place in the end to earn the bronze medal. Erin Huck (Boulder, Colo./Tokyo Joe’s – VCGraphix.com) rode her way up from seventh place to finish a strong fourth.
Also on Sunday, Sepp Kuss (Durango, Colo./RMCF-Devo) had a strong ride for a second-year rider placing 13th in the U23 men’s field.
Medaling for the U.S. on Saturday was Matthew Branney (Littleton, Colo.) in the juniors men’s downhill. Branney turned in a time of 12.979 to earn the bronze medal.
The junior men’s cross-country races were held on Saturday with Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif./ Whole Athlete – Specialized Cycling Team) and Sean Bennett (El Cerrito, Calif./Whole Athlete – Specialized Cycling Team) both riding well. Powless finished fourth and Bennett was seventh.
Cody Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) and Max Morgan (Duluth, Ga.) also contested the men’s elite downhill race on Saturday for the American team, with Johnson placing 11th and Morgan 12th.