Stephan Davoust and Cole Paton of the Giant Factory Off-Road Team traveled to Utah last weekend to race the Soldier Hollow Bike Festival, a four-day cross-country stage race with UCI points on offer.
The two young Americans put in a strong showing, with Davoust making the final podium in fourth overall and Paton finishing 10th overall.
The festival, held at the Nordic venue used during the 2002 Winter Olympics, consisted of four stages: a time trial, short track, XC and marathon. Instead of the typical stage race format based on cumulative time, the general classification was based on points from the four races.
Davoust got off to a fast start on day one, finishing third in the time trial, and carried that momentum throughout the four days. Racing on his Anthem Advanced Pro 29 team bike, he ended up finishing third in the short track, fifth in the XC and 15th in the marathon to take fourth in the overall.
“It’s not very often that we get to race the stage-race style in the U.S., especially a stage race with so many UCI points up for grabs,” said Davoust, who wore the new Giant Charge Pro shoes and Rev helmet. “I took full advantage of the points-based setup, scoring two third places and a fifth in the early, shorter stages. I faded out a little toward the end of the weekend but still managed to pull off fourth in the GC.”
Davoust’s teammate Paton got stronger as the race wore on. He finished 16th in the opening TT but bounced back to score three top-10 finishes.
“I struggled a bit with the points system determining GC standings but kept on the gas to try and bring myself back up after a poor time trial,” said Paton, who also rode an Anthem Advanced Pro 29 team bike. “The stage-race format gave us lots of chances to move up and I’m thankful for that.”