The Women's A field goes over the barriers early on the first lap. © Pat Malach

The Women’s A field goes over the barriers early on the first lap. © Pat Malach

HILLSBORO, Ore. – Shannon Skerritt (Trek Cyclocross Collective) and Laura Winberry (Speedvagen) each claimed their first victories of the 2013 Cross Crusade series Sunday at the Washington County Fair Complex in Hillsboro.

Winberry dueled series leader and three-race winner Serena Bishop Gordon (All Access Racing) throughout the race and eventually came out on top. With men’s series leader Carl Decker (Giant) absent Sunday, Skerritt outlasted a select lead group of five to take his win.

Although rain throughout the week had soaked and softened the surface on the pancake flat fairgrounds about 20 miles due west of Portland, the wet weather held off on Sunday and produced another relatively temperate fall day. The wide-open course had plenty of speed and open grass, with some muddy corners and off-camber technical sections thrown in to keep riders on their toes.

The select group of five that formed off the front about a quarter of the way into the men’s event included Skerritt, Donald Reeb (, Leland Gilmore (Rapha-River City Bicycles), Ben Thompson (Thump Coffee) and Brennan Wodtli (Speedvagen).

Pressure on the front from Skerritt whittled the lead group down to three riders in the closing lap, with Skerritt vying for the win against Reeb and Wodtli. Skerritt eventually distanced himself before the finish, coming in just three seconds ahead of Wodtli and eight ahead of Reeb. Thompson came in 11 seconds down for fourth, while Gilmore held onto fifth, 26 seconds down.

Shannon Skerritt celebrates his win. © Pat Malach

Shannon Skerritt celebrates his win. © Pat Malach

Despite the absence of the two other riders who have won a series race this year, series leader Bishop Gordon still had all she could deal with Sunday with Winberry. The Speedvagen rider jumped out to an early lead and was followed closely by Alice Pennington (Team S&M-Kona) and Megan Faris (Rapha-River City Bicycles). Gordon trailed the lead trio by a few seconds going into the second lap, but she soon closed down the gap and went directly to the lead.

Winberry stuck with Bishop Gordon as Faris kept up the chase in third and Pennington faded. Bishop Gordon tried throughout the rest of the race to shake Winberry, but the Speedvagen rider held on tenaciously and attacked on the final lap, building a nine second lead over Bishop Gordon by the finish. Faris Crossed the line another 11 seconds later for third, while Pennington slipped to fourth, nearly a minute off the lead. Speedvagen’s Tina Brubaker rounded out the top five.

Laura Winberry crosses the line for the win. © Pat Malach

Laura Winberry crosses the line for the win. © Pat Malach

The Cross Crusade continues next Sunday with race seven on the course around the infield of the Portland International Raceway. The series heads southeast of Portland to Barton Park for race eight on November 17 and then travels to Bend for the series finale on December 8, one day after the Central Oregon city also hosts the final UCI C1 race on USA Cycling’s Pro CX calendar.

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