Plaxton blazes to victory with last lap surge

Wells takes runner-up spot in brutally hot conditions

Max Plaxton (Specialized) rode to victory at the fourth round of the US Pro XCT on Saturday afternoon at the Mellow Johnny's Classic near Austin, Texas. Plaxton blazed to victory after a last lap surge to get past his teammate Todd Wells. The two are becoming quite accustomed to battling each other for wins this season.

Plaxton's victory comes after a week off racing in contrast to Wells, who spent the weekend since the Sea Otter Classic, which he won, travelling to and from and racing in South Africa for the opening World Cup.

Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) took third place in his best finish of the year. Ryan Woodhall (Brick City Bicycles) gave Schultz quite a scare but had to settle for fourth. Mexico's Ignacio Torres (Team Turbo) rode impressively to grab the last spot on the podium.

Unlike the women's race earlier in the morning, nearly all of the top cross country racers in North America (with the exception of Geoff Kabush and Jeremiah Bishop) seemed to be at the starting line. Plaxton entered the race as the US Pro XCT series leader and padded his lead today.

The heat and humidity was a major factor in the race, but perhaps a tad less so than last year. Temperatures hovered around 90 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-day, so many of the racers came to the starting line wearing ice vests. In addition, the Mellow Johnny's race organizers had the foresight to place a "cooling tent" at the finish line that was stocked with ice and liquids.

Schultz, who is from Montana, said after the race, "I feel like I just came out of a volcano. It got really hot. The first lap I was trying to stick with Wells but he kind of put the hammer down. I couldn't play that game in the heat, so I just mellowed it out."

Taberlay (H2O Overdrive) led most of the first lap with all of the main contenders stuck to his wheel but seemed to run out of gas as the race progressed. Adam Craig (Giant Rabobank) suffered a first lap flat tire and found himself playing catch-up again.

Plaxton appeared to ride a smart race, letting others set the early pace. "The first couple laps seemed kind of hard, but mid-race I settled in and started coming on strong, but if I am going to Europe, I am going to have to work on my starts," said Plaxton.

"I let Todd push the pace at the start and just kind of sat on Sid (Taberlay) and Sam (Schultz). But when Todd got that gap, I knew I couldn't wait too long to catch him. When I got on my own I found that I was riding that stuff faster than anyone."

It seemed to take quite a while for Plaxton to close down the gap to his teammate. "I took my time to catch up with Todd. I hovered for a while at about five seconds. Starting the last lap, I went to the front and just rode the trail as fast as I could."

Schultz complimented Woodall's race. The two were locked in heated battle and Schultz admitted that Woodall was out-descending him. "He rode like two men today," said Schultz at the finish line.

Lance Armstrong, who owns the ranch where the race was held, was not at the race due to other commitments. However, he is expected to be on hand for the amateur races on Sunday.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Plaxton (Can) Specialized1:33:15 
2Todd Wells (USA) Specialized0:01:25 
3Samuel Schultz (USA) Subaru-Trek0:02:19 
4Ryan Woodall (USA) Brick City Bicycles0:02:34 
5Ignacio Torres Acosta (Mex) Turbo Bike Team0:03:16 
6Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona0:03:28 
7Stephen Ettinger (USA) BMC Development Team0:03:59 
8Jason Sager (USA) Team Jamis0:04:05 
9Mitchell Hoke (USA) Tokyo Joe's0:04:09 
10Dana Weber (USA) Trek Co-op0:04:10 
11Justin Lindine (USA)0:04:28 
12Drew Edsall (USA)0:06:42 
13Seamus Powell (USA)0:07:34 
14Sid Taberlay (Aus) H20/Overdrive0:08:32 
15Kerry Werner (USA) BMC Development Team0:08:54 
16Rotem Ishai (Isr) Jamis0:09:05 
17Juan Carlos Hernandez Fernandez (Mex)0:09:16 
18Alejandro Barajas Vega (Mex)0:09:41 
19Matt Gordon (USA)0:10:43 
20Bryan Fawley (USA)0:12:01 
21Rick Wetherald (USA)0:12:26 
22Blake Harlan (USA)0:12:36 
23John Nobil (USA)0:13:12 
24Troy Wells (USA)0:13:31 
25Zachary Valdez (USA)0:13:52 
26Brandon Draugelis (USA)0:13:53 
27Jorge Muñoz (Mex)0:13:54 
28Cody Kaiser (USA)0:14:45 
29Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru-Trek0:14:54 
30Aaron Elwell (USA)0:15:00 
31Jason Siegle (USA)0:15:26 
32Lucas Brusseau (USA)0:15:31 
33Martin Cox (USA)0:16:35 
34Jason Young (USA)0:16:40 
35John Rines (USA)0:17:15 
36Craig Wohlschlaeger (USA)0:17:30 
37Anthony Sinyard (USA)0:18:00 
38Graham Aldredge (USA)0:18:10 
39Wiley Mosley (USA)0:18:28 
40David Hanes (USA)0:18:41 
41Hadji Corona Gonzalez (Mex)0:18:45 
42Thomas Sampson (USA)0:19:02 
43Katriel Statman (USA)0:20:39 
44Ernie Watenpaugh (USA)0:21:08 
45Jack Hinkens (USA)0:21:12 
46Jordan Kahlenberg (USA)0:24:03 
47Colin Osborn (USA)0:25:44 
48Keith Hargis (USA)0:40:02 
49Craig Kunz (USA)0:40:13 
50Chris Drummond (USA)0:40:44 
51Rich Weis (USA)0:40:58 
52Nevada Thomason (USA)0:41:53 
DNFJoshua Carlson (Aus)  
DNFAdam Craig (USA) Rabobank-Giant  
DNFWill Curtis (USA)  
DNFKevin Fish (USA)  
DNFCalle Friberg (Swe)  
DNFSteve Kidd (USA)  
DNFMark Orton (USA)  
DNFOsan Poshard (USA)  
DNFJoshua Rosby (USA)  
DNFSean Ahmadi (USA)  
DNFTristen Uhl (USA)  
DNFNicholas Weighall (USA)  
DNSJeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Trek  
DNSEmmanuel Valencia (Mex)  
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