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Plaxton leads Sho-Air Specialized team to one-two finish

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Chloe Forsman (Tokyo Joes) flies downhill to finish seventh

Chloe Forsman (Tokyo Joes) flies downhill to finish seventh (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) attacks on the last time up the climb to finish second

Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) attacks on the last time up the climb to finish second (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Kelli Emmett(Giant MTB Team) leads Lene Byberg. Emmett went on to win the elite women's race.

Kelli Emmett(Giant MTB Team) leads Lene Byberg. Emmett went on to win the elite women's race. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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The back of the men's field takes on the descent.

The back of the men's field takes on the descent. (Image credit: US Cup)
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There were big crowds watcing the pros

There were big crowds watcing the pros (Image credit: US Cup)
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Geoff Kabush leads the chase

Geoff Kabush leads the chase (Image credit: US Cup)
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Geoff Kabush, Sid Taberlay and Sam Schultz

Geoff Kabush, Sid Taberlay and Sam Schultz (Image credit: US Cup)
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Lene Byberg leads the women's race.

Lene Byberg leads the women's race. (Image credit: US Cup)
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The men's cross country field was in paceline mode.

The men's cross country field was in paceline mode. (Image credit: US Cup)
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Men's cross country podium.

Men's cross country podium. (Image credit: US Cup)
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Max Plaxton descends while in the lead.

Max Plaxton descends while in the lead. (Image credit: US Cup)
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Max PLaxton wins the cross country race.

Max PLaxton wins the cross country race. (Image credit: US Cup)
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Sid Taberlay off the front on lap two.

Sid Taberlay off the front on lap two. (Image credit: US Cup)
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Sid Taberlay and Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/ Specialized) before the start at Bonelli.

Sid Taberlay and Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/ Specialized) before the start at Bonelli. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) leads the pro field on the first lap.

Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) leads the pro field on the first lap. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) sets the tempo.

Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) sets the tempo. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Nitish Nag (NRL Racing) rounds a turn at the top of the course.

Nitish Nag (NRL Racing) rounds a turn at the top of the course. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher) enjoys a downhill section on her way to fifth.

Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher) enjoys a downhill section on her way to fifth. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Derek Hermon (Bear Valley Bikes) streaks through the flowers.

Derek Hermon (Bear Valley Bikes) streaks through the flowers. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Nate Whitman (Cynergy/Specialized) on a downhill section going on to finish 30th on the day.

Nate Whitman (Cynergy/Specialized) on a downhill section going on to finish 30th on the day. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Lene Byberg climbs the hill one more time on her way to finishing second.

Lene Byberg climbs the hill one more time on her way to finishing second. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) all by himself on the way to a big win at Bonelli.

Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) all by himself on the way to a big win at Bonelli. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)
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Tinker Juarez (Factory Cannondale) at 49 years old still able to manage 11th.

Tinker Juarez (Factory Cannondale) at 49 years old still able to manage 11th. (Image credit: Snowy Mountain Photography)

With over 765 elite and amateur starts, the opening round of the H2O Overdrive Triple Crown All Mountain Series in Bonelli Park proved to be a success.

Saturday started off with fireworks in the men's cross country race, as a select group of seven riders went off the front. That group contained all the heavy hitters, Sho-Air/Specialized's Max Plaxton and Sid Taberlay, Maxxis/Rocky Mountain's Geoff Kabush, Gary Fisher/Subaru's Sam Schultz and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Cannondale Factory Racing rider Jeremiah Bishop and Specialized's Factory rider Todd Wells.

These seven riders would set the tone of the cross country race.

Subaru/Fisher's JHK was the first to get popped late into lap one, but the scrappy veteran would fight all day getting back on to the freight train, only to get dropped when the front six traded turns making multiple accelerations.

Newly signed Cannondale Factory rider Jeremiah Bishop stretched his legs, taking pulls at the front, but the former National Champion would soon surrender to the blistering pace set by Plaxton, Taberlay, Wells, Kabush and Schultz.

Then on lap three, Sho-Air/Specialized's Max Plaxton went on a suicide mission and rode off the front with three laps to go, leaving North America's top cross country riders in his dust.

While the "Mountie" went off the front, the cat and mouse games began in the chase group between Wells, Kabush, Taberlay and Schultz.

These games continued and allowed Bishop and JHK to join the group, as well as Trek's Adam Morka. But that was short lived, as Wells made an acceleration on the backside of the course, with only Kabush, Taberlay and Schultz able to respond.

Then with one to go, both Taberlay and Kabush suffered from flat tires, as they came into the tech zone side by side NASCAR style. That allowed Wells and Schultz to get away.

In a display of sheer determination, Sho-Air/Specialized's Taberlay clawed his way back to the trio, taking Kabush along with him. Out front, Plaxton was on cruise control, having no idea of the drama unfolding behind him.

On the final climb, Taberlay punched it into the forest section, dropping the trio of Kabush, Wells and Schultz. Taberlay rode in for second alone.

Kabush and Schultz sprinted for third with Schultz getting the nod, while Wells captured fifth.

Elite women's race

In the elite women's race, going on behind the men's race, a battle was raging. Kelli Emmett of Giant was locked in a personal contest with 2009 cross country World Championship silver medalist, Specialized's Lene Byberg.

The two women were never separated by more than a wheel during the five-lap race, with the American Emmett just getting away at the end to take a slim three-second victory over the Norwegian Byberg.

Third place went to Team Mata/Okole Stuff.com rider Pua Sawicki, followed by Rock N Road Cyclery's Allison Mann and Gary Fisher/Subaru rider Heather Irmiger rounding out the top five.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Plaxton (Can) ShoAir/Specialized1:35:35
2Sid Taberlay (Aus) ShoAir/Specilaized0:00:52
3Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher0:00:53
4Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain0:00:56
5Todd Wells (USA) Specialized0:01:08
6Adam Morka (Can) Trek Canada0:01:24
7Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Team0:01:31
8Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher0:02:48
9Barry Wicks (USA) Kona0:03:30
10Peter Glassford (Can)0:03:31
11David Tinker Juarez (USA) Cannondale Factory Team0:03:51
12Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona/FSA0:04:16
13Manuel Prado (CRc) Shoair/Specilaized0:05:08
14TJ Woodruff (USA) Trek Bicycles Boulder0:05:13
15Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona0:05:18
16Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru/Gary Fisher0:06:01
17Andy Schultz (USA) Kenda/Felt0:06:24
18Jason Sager (USA) Team Jamis0:07:08
19Mitchell Hoke (USA) Tokyo Joes0:07:38
20Stephen Ettinger (USA) Mafia/Felt/PBR0:08:19
21Colin Cares (USA) Kenda/Felt0:08:46
22Vincent Lombardi (USA) Sho-Air/Sonnance0:09:07
23Miguel Valadez (Mex)0:09:17
24Dana Weber (USA) Trek/World Bicycle Relief0:09:34
25Tad Elliott (USA) Sho-Air/Specialized0:10:31
26Adam Snyder (USA) 3D Bicycles0:10:57
27Aaron Bradford (USA) Specialized/Onsite0:11:07
28Evan Plews (USA) Www.Evanplews.Com0:11:12
29Romolo Forcino (USA) Bear Valley Bikes0:11:21
30Nate Whitman (USA) Cynergy/Specialized0:13:44
31Sean Donovan (USA) KHS 650B Crew0:13:41
32Doug Andrews (USA) Sho-Air/Sonnance0:14:33
33Jeff Herrera (USA) Hammerheadbikes.com0:14:51
34Jason Siegle (USA) Bike Religion0:15:32
35Brent Prenzlow (USA) Celo Pacific/B&L0:15:52
36Matthew Beaton (USA) Tokyo Joes0:15:56
37Alex Boone (USA) Trek Mtn Co-Op0:16:15
38Matthew Cochran (USA) Wins Wheels JWCF0:17:05
39Paul Freiwald (USA) Pivot Cycles0:17:44
40Eric Bierman (USA) Steven K Sports0:18:38
41Tom Obrien (USA)0:18:42
42Charles Jenkins (USA) KHS 650 Crew0:19:26
43Randall Jacobs (USA) Wheelworks Racing0:19:55

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant MTB Team1:33:21
2Lene Byberg (Nor)0:00:02
3Pua Sawicki (USA) Okole Stuff.com0:00:52
4Allison Mann (USA) Rock N Road Cyclery0:03:32
5Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher0:04:32
6Amber Neben (USA)0:06:16
7Chloe Forsman (USA) Tokyo Joes0:07:08
8Krista Park (USA) Incycle/Cannondale0:08:42
9Anna Fortner (USA) Socal Cross-Cicle0:17:58
10Kay Sherwood (USA) Tokyo Joes0:23:22
DNFRebecca Tomaszewski (USA) Niner/Ergon

 

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