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Todd Wells put himself in the top five with two laps to go.
American Olympic mountain bikers prove they are on form
It was a good day for several Americans at the Windham cross country mountain bike World Cup last weekend, including Todd Wells (Specialized) and Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek), who both had career-best finishes.
Wells stood on the podium for only the second time in his lengthy career. He was just 34 seconds behind winner and teammate Burry Stander.
"What an amazing weekend! This season has been rough to say the least thus far but this weekend made all the hard work and sacrifice worth it," said Wells on his team's website. He had been injured earlier this spring and has been slowly building his form. "If you would have told me in La Bresse that I would be standing on the podium in Windham I would have told you that was crazy. That is exactly what makes sport so great. Anything can happen on any given day, that's why we line up."
Wells moved up from 27th at the end of the first lap to an eventual fourth place. "I probably went over the top of the first climb around 30th position. I had five more laps to move up though, and I was on a mission from that point forward. I picked off group after group and by the time we went into the last lap, I was only a few seconds behind Fontana who was in third. I caught him on the last downhill but couldn't get around him before the finish. We sprinted for third but he handily took it."
Wells grew up about 50 miles away in Ulster Park, New York. It made the win extra special. "I learned to ride on the rocks and roots of the Hudson Valley, and I get great support whenever we go back to the Empire state. Windham was devastated last year by Hurricane Irina, but you would never know it by how great the town and the course look."
Schultz was excited to make the top 10 of the World Cup for the first time. He finished 1:39 off Stander.
Both riders will represent the US at the Olympic Games mountain bike race on August 12 in London. In the meantime, they have a few more races to prepare, including this weekend's US Cross Country National Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, another US Pro XCT round in Missoula, Montana, and the final World cup in Val d'Isere, France.