Plaxton takes first American cross country win

Plaxton's descending skills help him to victory

Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) won his first US ProXCT race on Saturday at Cheyenne Mountain Park in a heated battle with Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, who finished second. He also solidified his lead in the series. Todd Wells (Specialized) rode in no-man's land much of the race to take third. Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) was fourth, and Derek Zandstra fifth.

The course was fast and challenging. The weather was perfect for the 90 elite men who started.

"The course was awesome," said Todd Wells. "It was a good combination of flat, smooth, fast sections and rocky, technical sections up top. It was a real mountain bike course."

The racers did four 5.2-mile laps with 1,070 feet of climbing per lap at an altitude over 6,000 feet. On the back side of the course there were some challenging uphill switchbacks. The descent was twisty, rocky, and extremely fast. The run into the finish was on pavement.

As usual, Todd Wells won the start on the pavement and led the racers onto the dirt. Horgan-Kobelski went to the front and drilled the pace. "I had to try to blow it apart at the beginning. I was feeling really strong," said JHK. "I didn't want to have to race all three Sho-Air guys at the end, but Max bridged a huge gap on the descent. He was descending really well. I was trying to be a little conservative and not get a flat."

By the end of the first lap, Horgan-Kobelski had nearly a 10-second lead on Wells, Plaxton, Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized), Geoff Kabush, and Adam Craig (Giant). By the end of the second lap, however, Plaxton had closed the gap on JHK to within a few seconds.

Plaxton set the pace on the third lap followed closely by JHK. Wells was ten seconds back followed by Kabush. Beyond was an enormous gap back to Sam Schultz who later relinquished fifth place to Zandstra. Taberlay's front fork locked up, taking away any chance he had to make the podium.

"Plaxton and JHK got away on the descents," said Wells. "Plaxton was flying."

On the final descent, Horgan-Kobelski had the lead, but Plaxton found a shorter line around a corner to make the pass. It was important to hit the final pavement stretch first as it was extremely difficult  to get around someone on the run into the finish.

"I felt that I needed to attack an suffer at the front," said Plaxton. "I was definitely descending well, which I attribute to my bike."  He was riding a full suspension Specialized Epic.

"I didn't feel the altitude," said Plaxton. "Last week at Vail (at the Teva Games - ed.)  I was hurting…but it was smart that we went up there and raced a little higher and then came back down."

The next major race for the American riders is the National Championships in  Granby, Colorado, on the weekend of July 18.
 

Results
1Max Plaxton0:33:08 
2Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski0:00:02 
3Todd Wells0:00:55 
4Geoff Kabush0:01:19 
5Derek Zandstra0:03:48 
6Sam Schultz0:04:24 
7Adam Craig0:04:34 
8Sam Jurekovic0:04:42 
9Sid Taberlay0:05:01 
10Jeremiah Bishop0:05:02 
11Ishay Rotom0:05:14 
12Chris Sheppard0:05:22 
13Carl Decker0:06:33 
14Troy Wells0:07:42 
15Manuel Prado0:08:32 
16Peter Glassford0:09:02 
17Benjamin Sonntag0:09:22 
18Matt Shriver0:09:39 
19Colin Cares0:10:28 
20Macky Franklin0:10:28 
21Travis Livermon0:10:42 
22Alex Grant0:10:43 
23Cody Peterson0:11:00 
24Dana Weber0:11:02 
25Bryan Elders0:11:33 
26Travis Scheefer0:11:37 
27Robert Marion0:12:22 
28Adam Snyder0:12:28 
29Jason Sager0:12:30 
30Aaron Bradford0:12:36 
31Andy Schultz0:12:48 
32Robbie Squire0:13:13 
33Ken Onodera0:13:20 
34Kevin Kane0:14:00 
35Tj Woodruff0:14:06 
36Jj Clark0:14:23 
37Stephen Ettinger0:14:42 
38Adam Parke0:14:44 
39Benjamin Portilla0:15:06 
40Scott Frederick0:15:09 
41Michael Mccalla0:15:17 
42Colby Pearce0:15:39 
43Dylan Stucki0:15:56 
44Aaron Elwell0:16:18 
45Yuki Saito0:16:19 
46Barkley Robinson0:16:40 
47Blake Harlan0:17:02 
48Matt Rotroff0:17:06 
49Drew Edsall0:17:10 
50Greg Carpenter0:17:14 
51Doug Ryden0:17:41 
52John Nobil0:18:36 
53Jan Koles0:18:54 
54Spencer Powlison0:19:34 
55Daniel Matheny0:19:53 
56Tad Elliott0:20:31 
57Ryan Clark0:20:33 
58Alex Ryan0:20:58 
59Craig Wohlschlaeger0:21:04 
60Kalan Beisel0:21:18 
61Jamie Morgan0:21:18 
62Chad Harris0:23:02 
63Joe Mcnerney0:24:21 
64Jordon Williford0:25:00 
65Seamus Powell0:26:42 
66Ross Bowden12:28:02 
67Matt Connors12:28:50 
68Jacob Virostko12:31:37 
69Mitchell Hoke12:33:47 
Lapped
70Bryan Mickiewicz  
71Katriel Statman  
72Chris Peterson  
73Mitchell Peterson  
DNFChad Wells  
DNFRyan Trebon  
DNFMatthew Beaton  
DNFJake Kirpatrick  
DNFRob Sousa  
DNFJason Young  
DNFMike Mooradian  
DNFSeamus Mcgrath  
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