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Ettinger wins US national short track championships

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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM Factory)

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM Factory)
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Luke Vrouwenvelder was having a fantastic race

Luke Vrouwenvelder was having a fantastic race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) with Ettinger glued to his wheel

Todd Wells (Specialized) with Ettinger glued to his wheel
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air Cannondale) got stronger as the race progressed

Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air Cannondale) got stronger as the race progressed
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (BMC) got around Wells late in the race

Stephen Ettinger (BMC) got around Wells late in the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kerry Werner (BMC) leading a group up the ski slope

Kerry Werner (BMC) leading a group up the ski slope
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) attacking Ettinger on the steepest climb

Todd Wells (Specialized) attacking Ettinger on the steepest climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Wells and Ettinger going head to head with two laps to go

Wells and Ettinger going head to head with two laps to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) leading Ettinger with one lap to go

Todd Wells (Specialized) leading Ettinger with one lap to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Howard Grotts (Specialized) and Russell Finsterwald with one lap to go

Howard Grotts (Specialized) and Russell Finsterwald with one lap to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (BMC) wins the short track national championship

Stephen Ettinger (BMC) wins the short track national championship
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (BMC) rides to victory in a cloud of dust

Stephen Ettinger (BMC) rides to victory in a cloud of dust
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM Factory) sprinting to the line

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM Factory) sprinting to the line
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Troy Wells (Cliff Bar) pulling the chasers

Troy Wells (Cliff Bar) pulling the chasers
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) trying unsuccessfully to drop Ettinger

Todd Wells (Specialized) trying unsuccessfully to drop Ettinger
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Troy Wells (Cliff Bar) rode like a man possessed today

Troy Wells (Cliff Bar) rode like a man possessed today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (BMC) is one of the favorites today

Stephen Ettinger (BMC) is one of the favorites today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Payson McElveenn (Rocky Mountain Chocolate)_

Payson McElveenn (Rocky Mountain Chocolate)_
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Pro Men’s field was fairly large today

The Pro Men’s field was fairly large today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) took the hole-shot

Todd Wells (Specialized) took the hole-shot
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) went on the attack during lap one

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) went on the attack during lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) seemed happy to let Swenson pull the field

Todd Wells (Specialized) seemed happy to let Swenson pull the field
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (BMC) was never far from the front during the first few laps

Stephen Ettinger (BMC) was never far from the front during the first few laps
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) near the end of lap one

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) near the end of lap one
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air Cannondale) got off to a poor start but pulled himself back into contention

Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air Cannondale) got off to a poor start but pulled himself back into contention
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) with the race lead on lap two

Todd Wells (Specialized) with the race lead on lap two
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM Factory) riding in third place

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM Factory) riding in third place
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kerry Werner (BMC) exiting the woods on lap two

Kerry Werner (BMC) exiting the woods on lap two
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Stephen Ettinger (BMC) is congratulated by Todd Wells

Stephen Ettinger (BMC) is congratulated by Todd Wells
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

Stephen Ettinger (BMC) raced to victory in the elite men's short track race at the US Mountain Bike National Championships at Bear Creek Resort on Sunday in Pennsylvania. Ettinger battled yesterday's cross country winner Todd Wells (Specialized) all race, and it came down to the final lap.

Having not been able to defend his cross country title the previous day due to two flat tires during the race, Ettinger was doubly motivated for the short track.

"Last year was my first elite cross country and this is my first elite short track win. Now I have one of each," said Ettinger. The elite men's short track and cross country titles were swapped from last year. This year, Ettinger goes home with the short track while Wells goes home with the cross country title.

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale) went for the hole shot and helped string things out from the gun. He was closely followed by the heavy favorites: Todd Wells, Russell Finsterwald (SRAM Factory Racing) and Ettinger. By the end of the first lap, the four men had created a gap.

Swenson and Wells spent a decent amount of time at the front, driving the pace.

On the fourth lap, Wells surged on the climb and created a slight gap, and Ettinger was quick to realize he needed to close it. The result was Ettinger and Wells rode off the front, leaving Finsterwald and Swenson behind. Fans were about to be treated to the Wells/Ettinger battle they had missed out on the previous day after Ettinger flatted.

"I knew that Todd would want it to be hard. I didn't know what he had in the tank, but I knew I had worked really hard the second half of yesterday's race to catch back up," said Ettinger. "I wanted to be patient and see where Todd was riding well and where I was riding well."

Neither man wanted to do too much work at the front and at times their pace slowed while they looked at each other. Each would try to apply pressure to the other by surging up the two climbs, but finally they realized that neither would get away from the other - they were too evenly matched.

"We had a good battle," said Wells. "I was hoping more of the guys would stay up there because then there are more guys to drive the pace. Once it was just Ettinger and I, we realized that we weren't going to drop each other and neither of us wanted to pull. But for me, it's better when the race is hard. There's some drafting out here and I knew he'd be able to sit on if I made it hard. We kind of looked at each other and then it was flat out the last couple of laps. We were dicing back and forth - there are some great berms out here you can throw it into."

Behind them, Swenson was the first to get caught by chasers, and he continued to fade. Finsterwald was also caught, but he stayed with the chasers, which included Troy Wells (Clif Bar), Howard Grotts (Specialized) and Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale).

On the final lap, Ettinger attacked enough to just get around Wells at the crucial last real place to pass on the course - at the top of a hill before some technical bits and a fast gravel downhill.

"I knew you had to be leading into the singletrack after the last climb because there's nowhere to pass between there and the finish line," said Ettinger. "So we battled a lot the last few laps on each of the climbs. There were a lot of elbows that we threw, but I guess I just had it today."

Ettinger held his advantage to take the lead and the title. Wells rode in for second.

"I wanted to win today, but I know how it is when you miss it the first day. You have extra motivation and everybody wants to win, but when you come close the previous day, it gives you just a little bit more," said Wells, who was happy to go home with the cross country title after winning the marathon title a few weeks ago.

"Two out of three ain't bad," he said.

Behind them, the cagey Finsterwald had saved just enough to beat his rivals for third place.

"Today was better than yesterday for sure," said Finsterwald, who had flatted the previous day while racing in the top three of the cross country. " Obviously, in short track, you want to fight for the win because that's what everyone remembers, but I went out there and did the best that I could."

"The first half I was holding on to them as long as possible. I felt my rear tire going a little soft today, so I had to be a little conservative in the corners. I figured third today would be better than not making it. I saw the others coming across and I knew it would happen, so I tried to make sure I had a few matches left to burn for when they got me. I needed to have one good punch to create some separation. It was hard - it was never easy to get away from Howie, Bishop and Troy for that third spot."

Bishop rode in for fourth and Grotts was fifth.

Ettinger complimented the organizers on their courses. "It was a fun track. There were a few technical sections and a few risky spots. They did a good job here. It was fun racing on both the cross country and the short track."

Wells said, "There's a great mix out here - a couple of punchy climbs, some drafting, one or two rocky sections - it's a lot of fun."

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Racing)0:24:46
2Todd Wells (Specialized Factory)0:00:05
3Russell Finsterwald (Sram Factory)0:00:40
4Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale)0:00:40
5Howard Grotts (Specialized Racing)0:00:40
6Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar Cycling)0:00:57
7Brian Matter (Ks Energy Services)0:00:58
8Kerry Werner (BMC Project Dirt)0:01:03
9Sepp Kuss (Rmcf-Devo)0:01:09
10Richard Cypress Gorry (Whole Athlete/ Specialized)0:01:12
11Alexander Grant (Sho-Air/Cannondale)0:01:15
12Luke Vrouwenvelder0:01:20
13Tristan Uhl (787 Racing)0:01:26
14Eric Thompson (Plan C P/B Challenge)0:01:28
15Spencer Paxson (Kona Factory Team)0:01:32
16Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory)0:01:40
17Cameron Dodge0:01:43
18Mitchell Hoke (Pro's Closet)0:01:49
19Lewis Gaffney (Team F.I.Taos)0:01:57
20Cole Oberman (Rare Disease Cycling)0:02:02
21Payson Mcelveen (USA U23)0:02:08
22Joseph Maloney (KS Energy Services )0:02:16
23Thomas Sampson0:02:21
24Menso De Jong (Team Clif Bar Cycling)0:02:24
25Stephan Davoust (Durango Devo)0:02:32
26Ryan Standish0:02:34
27Noah Tautfest (Bicycle Express Racing)0:02:41
28Michael Broderick (Team Kenda/Stan's NoTubes)0:02:48
-2 lapsRyan Woodall
-2 lapsWilliam Melone (Riverside Racing)
-2 lapsAlex Meucci
-2 lapsCasey Williams (Whole Athlete/ Specialized)
-3 lapsKenneth Hall (Lindsey Wilson College)
-3 lapsRyan Geiger (Tropix-Frm)
-4 lapsLevi Kurlander (Fort Lewis College)
-4 lapsDavis Bentley
-4 lapsTravis (Tj) Woodruff (Momentum Endurance)
-4 lapsBraden Kappius (Team Clif Bar Cycling)
-4 lapsMichael Sampson
-4 lapsMadison Matthews
-4 lapsChristopher Ziegler (Green Mountain Bicycle Club)
-5 lapsDaniel Sturm (Black Bear Cycling)
-5 lapsChristopher Hamlin (Bicycle Express Racing)
-5 lapsAndy Brooks (Giant Northeast Grassroots)
-5 lapsJoseph Clemenzi (Sports Garage Cycling)
-5 lapsFrancis Cuddy
-5 lapsMike Montalbano (Toasted Head Racing)
-5 lapsRobert Rimmer (Piney Flats Bicycles And Fitness)
-5 lapsMason Shea
-6 lapsDavid Flaten (Giant Northeast Pro)
-6 lapsCraig Wohlschlaeger (Giant Bicycle)
DNFZachary Valdez
DNFKevin Fish

 

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