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Keegan Swenson wins men's Sea Otter Classic Fuego MTB 80K

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Keegan Swenson wins Fuego 80K XC MTB 2022

Keegan Swenson wins Fuego 80K XC MTB 2022 and is first leader of Life Time Grand Prix series (Image credit: Life Time Sea Otter Classic/ Life Time Grand Prix)
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Swenson rides with Wild and Finsterwald in third by LIfe Time Sea Otter Classic

Swenson rides alongside Wild with Finsterwald trailing during the Fuego 80K XC MTB race (Image credit: Life Time Sea Otter Classic/ Life Time Grand Prix)
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Keegan Swenson leads elite men's field on first lap of Fuego 80K XC MTB

Eventual winner Keegan Swenson leads front group on first of two laps of course (Image credit: Life Time Sea Otter Classic/ Life Time Grand Prix)
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2022 men's podium at Fuego 80K XC MTB (LtoR): Russell Finsterwald second, winner Keegan Swenson, and Alex Wild third

2022 men's podium at Fuego 80K XC MTB (LtoR): Russell Finsterwald second, winner Keegan Swenson, and Alex Wild third (Image credit: Life Time Sea Otter Classic/ Life Time Grand Prix)

Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz Bicycles) won the open men's division of the Sea Otter Classic's Fuego 80K XC race in Monterey, California. The champion of the men's 2021 USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross-Country Tour, Swenson completed the 80-kilometre mountain bike course in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds.

Following 18 seconds back, Russell Finsterwald (Specialized Off-Road) secured second place, while Alex Wild placed third, another minute back. The trio of mountain bike specialists scooped up the top points to set the stage for the men's standings in the Life Time Grand Prix presented by Mazda series. The next round is scheduled for June 4 at Unbound Gravel 200 in Emporia, Kansas.

“This race has always been big, but there’s more to it now. There’s more at stake to win. I want to try and get those points before going into the longer gravel races, but I think consistency is what wins this series,” said Keegan, who is taking time away from  World Cup XCO competitions to focus on the new off-road US series. He finished seventh at the 2021 Marathon Mountain Bike World Championships.

“I think they’re [Life Time] bringing more eyes to the domestic scene and that raises us all up. I think together, we will do a good job lifting up the American cycling scene.”

Seven riders had gone clear of the field on the first of two laps that wound over rolling hills and smooth singletrack at Fort Ord National Monument in northern California. Swenson attacked on the first big climb on the second lap to distance Finsterwald, and strung out the other chasers behind with large time gaps. 

The six-race, invitation-only series opened Saturday with a total of 60 riders vying for a season-ending $250,000 prize purse, shared equally among the top 10 in each category for men and women. The competition requires riders to compete in five of the six events to be eligible for the final payouts. 

Saturday's series opener featured 22 of the 30 men in the field. Among riders not competing was two-time US cross-country mountain bike champion Payson McElveen, who broke his collarbone at The Mid South. He switched gears to provide guest commentary for the FloBikes broadcast of the race on race day. 

Former Rally Cycling pro Rob Britton returned to action with a 10th-place finish. A number of other current and former road pros completed the race among the top 25: current riders for EF Education-EasyPost teammmates Lachlan Morton in 11th and Alex Howes in 15th, Adam Roberge (formerly with Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling) in 16th, Peter Stetina (formerly with Trek-Segafredo) in 21st and Ted King (formerly with Cannondale-Garmin) in 24th. 

Fuego 80K XC was the first of three mountain bike races included in the series, the other two coming in late summer, Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Leadville, Colorado on August 13 and Chequamegon MTB (40 miles) in Cable, Wisconsin on September 17.

Results - men open
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Keegan Swenson 2:55:23
2Russell Finsterwald 0:00:18
3Alex Wild 0:01:07
4Tobin Ortenblad 0:04:27
5Andrew L’Esperance 0:04:28
6Cole Paton
7Lance Haidet
8Kyle Trudeau
9Alexey Vermeulen 0:04:46
10Robert Britton 0:06:15
11Lachlan Morton 0:06:17
12Ryan Standish 0:08:02
13Stefano Barberi 0:08:32
14Taylor Lideen 0:08:33
15Alex Howes 0:08:34
16Adam Roberge 0:08:58
17Dylan Johnson 0:09:00
18Bradyn Lange 0:09:07
19Geoff Kabush 0:09:10
20Blake Wray 0:09:27
21Peter Stetina 0:09:34
22Ian Lopez De San Roman 0:11:30
23Canyon Emmott 0:13:40
24Ted King 0:13:45
25Tanner Visnick 0:13:53
26John Borstelmann 0:14:00
27Michael van Den Ham 0:14:48
28Colin Strickland 0:14:55
29Justin Martin 0:17:32
30Jose Marin 0:18:04
31Cory Wallace 0:18:14
32Brian McCulloch 0:18:16
33Henry Nadell 0:18:20
34Cassius Anderson 0:18:40
35Zach Peddie 0:18:46
36Logan Kasper 0:18:58
37Cody Cupp 0:19:13
38Kiel Reijnen 0:19:50
39Ian Schwing 0:19:51
40Caleb Reese 0:20:00
41Brandon Baker 0:21:40
42Laurens Ten Dam 0:22:13
43Justin Desilets 0:27:04
44Sam Owens 0:29:11
45Nicolas Jimenez 0:29:46
46Alec Franco 0:31:47
47Truman Glasgow 0:31:56
48John Keller 0:34:30
49Mike Nowak 0:35:52
50Dillon Hollinger 0:36:07
51Kevin Smallman 0:37:55
52Bjorn Selander 0:38:22
53Steven Bobrofsky 0:39:03
54Ashton Lambie 0:40:06
55Marc Potts 0:40:31
56Thor Audiss 0:40:40
57Christopher Baird 0:42:55
58David Sweet 0:44:46
59Joseph Kochlacs 0:45:30
60Jacob Peterson 0:46:08
61Emmett Gross 0:46:31
62Seamus Woods 0:50:37
63Justin Abbott 0:52:25
64Sean Estes
65Kyle Kirby 0:59:30
66Tyler Pearce 1:01:35
67Miles Lamon 1:03:08
68Mark Marquez 1:24:13
69Justin Dillon 1:25:18

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Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).

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