Giant Factory Off-Road Team racer Cole Paton rode consistently at the front of the field through four days of racing at the Missoula Pro XCT, finishing every stage on the podium and landing second place overall.
Held each summer as part of the Western Montana Trail Series, the Missoula Pro XCT serves as the sixth round of the Pro XCT Series, the premier U.S. national series of cross-country racing. This year the event expanded to a four-day race with a marathon on Thursday and a total of more than 14,000 feet of climbing over four days.
"I always love racing at Missoula, it's the closest Pro XCT stop to my house in Washington," Paton said. "It was special having my family here to support me and such a big presence from the Giant Factory Off-Road Team."
Paton, who returned to U.S. soil after racing in the early rounds of the UCI World Cup XC series in Europe, kicked things off finishing third in the marathon behind stage winner Keegan Swenson and second-place Lucas Vrouwenvelder. Racing on his XtC Advanced 29 team bike equipped with an XCR 29 0 WheelSystem and wearing the Giant Rev helmet, Paton went on to finish second in the time trial and Olympic distance XC, and third in the short-track. That put the 21-year-old second overall at the end of the four-day race.
“Conditions were prime for racing and I felt great all week,” Paton said. “I paced myself in the marathon, finishing third in a sprint. I closed in a lot of time in the individual time trial, then in the cross-country I was able to break away and move up to second place. By the final stage, the short track, I finished third to secure second place overall. I'm super excited to score more UCI points and move into the upcoming World Cups with more confidence and a better starting position."