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