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Wells claims Fontana by one second

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Todd Wells (Specialized) wins a sprint against Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Moutain) in a Fontana sand storm.

Todd Wells (Specialized) wins a sprint against Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Moutain) in a Fontana sand storm. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) always gets a good luck kiss from his wife Meg at the starting line.

Todd Wells (Specialized) always gets a good luck kiss from his wife Meg at the starting line. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Eric Batty (Trek Toronto) rode impressively to a top 10 finish.

Eric Batty (Trek Toronto) rode impressively to a top 10 finish. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Carl Decker (Team Giant) loves to descend like a mad man.

Carl Decker (Team Giant) loves to descend like a mad man. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Miguel Valadez riding the top of the plateau.

Miguel Valadez riding the top of the plateau. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Men's podium (L to R): Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized), Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis/Rocky Mountain), Todd Wells (Specialized), Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) and Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher/Subaru).

Men's podium (L to R): Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized), Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis/Rocky Mountain), Todd Wells (Specialized), Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) and Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher/Subaru). (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The men's start was fast and furious.

The men's start was fast and furious. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush and Todd Wells seem to take turns winning starts.

Geoff Kabush and Todd Wells seem to take turns winning starts. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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A select group lead by USA Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher/Subaru) heads out onto lap two.

A select group lead by USA Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher/Subaru) heads out onto lap two. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) leads up the big climb on lap two.

Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) leads up the big climb on lap two. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Andy Schultz (Kenda/Felt) climbing.

Andy Schultz (Kenda/Felt) climbing. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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A Mafia Racing rider high above Fontana.

A Mafia Racing rider high above Fontana. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Barry Wicks (Kona) riding on top of the plateau.

Barry Wicks (Kona) riding on top of the plateau. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Robert Marion (American C) carving a corner.

Robert Marion (American C) carving a corner. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sweet, sweet singletrack on top of the course.

Sweet, sweet singletrack on top of the course. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) on the big climb,

Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) on the big climb, (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Carl Decker (Team Giant) on his way to a top 10 finish.

Carl Decker (Team Giant) on his way to a top 10 finish. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) leading up the big climb on lap two.

Todd Wells (Specialized) leading up the big climb on lap two. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Adam Morka (Trek Toronto) descending a rock face.

Adam Morka (Trek Toronto) descending a rock face. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) on the front of the lead group.

Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) on the front of the lead group. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis/Rocky Mountain) marking Sid Taberlaly.

Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis/Rocky Mountain) marking Sid Taberlaly. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher/Subaru) looked strong and then broke a chain.

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher/Subaru) looked strong and then broke a chain. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) riding with the leaders.

Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized) riding with the leaders. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher/Subaru) stayed with the other four leaders for a couple laps

Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher/Subaru) stayed with the other four leaders for a couple laps (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The leaders head up the mountain.

The leaders head up the mountain. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Hayden Boucher (3Rox Racing) riding the rocks on his dually.

Hayden Boucher (3Rox Racing) riding the rocks on his dually. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

After previously being unbeaten on the course, Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis/Rocky Mountain) suffered a narrow defeat by just one second to Todd Wells (Specialized). Sho-Air/Specialized teammates Max Plaxton and Sid Taberlay finished third and fourth respectively, while Sam Schultz held on for fifth place after being dropped from the lead group mid-race.

“Everyone was just sitting up on the flat before the last climb and I sort of hit it and was able to hold on,” said Wells. “Generally whoever leads up the climb stays in the lead.”

The Santa Anna winds were blowing at nearly gale force for the entire race today. Riders were treated to sand in their mouths and eyes, as the headwinds neutralized many attacks.

“One of the best places to attack was on the pavement climb, but there was an extreme headwind so it was kind of useless,” said Kabush. “It was easy to follow attacks because you could just jump on someone’s wheel.”

The Fontana course was redesigned slightly again this year. It still featured a massive climb up the mountain, but a highly technical descent was added that had riders flying down slick rock and over multiple drop-offs. Surprisingly there were very few crashes as the riders mustered all their skills for these dangerous sections of the course.

A select group of six riders got away from the field early on the first lap, including Kabush, Max Plaxton (Specialized / Sho-Air), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Gary Fisher/Subaru), Sid Taberlay (Specialized / Sho-Air), Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher / Subaru), and Todd Wells (Specialized). It seemed that Kabush and Wells did much of the work up front, but everyone got involved, launching attack after attack. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru / Gary Fisher) snapped a chain early in the race that would end any chance he had of making the podium.

Schultz came unglued from the group on the third lap and rode solo the rest of the race. “I lost them at the top of the pavement climb and couldn’t get back on,” said Schutlz. “It was easy to motivate myself by trying to catch the leaders rather than get caught myself from behind.”

The final run into the finish was through some trees where it is near impossible to pass. Whoever was first into the finishing area had a huge advantage in any final sprint. While Kabush is a fantastic sprinter, Wells had the lead coming out of the trees and was able to hold off Kabush.

Kabush had been shooting for his fifth consecutive victory at Fontana, but was magnanimous in defeat. “It was good to see Todd win,” he said. “He has often been strong at these national races but he’s had a hard time winning them.”

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Todd Wells (USA) Specialized1:46:15
2Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain-Rocky Mountain0:00:01
3Max Plaxton (Can) Sho-air/Specialized0:00:03
4Sid Taberlay (Aus) Sho-air/Specialized0:00:29
5Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher0:03:15
6Derek Zandstra (Can) 3 Rox Racing0:04:31
7Barry Wicks (USA) Kona0:05:04
8Raphael Gagne (Can) Rocky Mountain Factory Team0:05:29
9Eric Batty (Can) Trek Canada0:05:48
10Carl Decker (USA) Giant Factory Team0:06:41
11Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale Factory Team0:06:57
12Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona0:07:10
13Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher0:07:53
14Rob Squire (USA) U23 National Team0:08:22
15Peter Glassford (Can)0:08:29
16Benjamin Sonntag (Ger)0:09:26
17Adam Morka (Can) Trek Canada0:10:08
18Andy Schultz (USA) Kenda/Felt0:10:29
19Colin Cares (USA) Kenda/Felt0:10:49
20Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru/Gary Fisher0:10:57
21Spencer Paxson (USA) Team S&M-Kona0:11:23
22Vincent Lombardi (USA) Sho-Air/Sonnance0:12:27
23Tj Woodruff (USA) Trek Bicycles Boulder0:12:48
24Travis Livermon (USA) Champion System/Cannondale0:13:09
25Stephen Ettinger (USA) Mafia/Felt/PBR
26Ryan Woodall (USA) Brick City Bicycles/I90:14:36
27Jeff Herrera (USA) Hammerheadbikes.com0:14:41
28Alex Grant (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing0:14:46
29Sondre Norland (Nor)0:14:49
30Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona/FSA0:15:21
31Cody Canning (Can)0:15:35
32Zachary Hughes (Can)0:16:15
33Robert Marion (USA) American Classic/Kenda/Tomac0:16:20
34Ken Onodera (Jpn) Subaru-Gary Fisher0:16:22
35Kalan Beisel (USA) Procycling/CTS0:17:42
36Tyson Wagler (Can) 3 Rox Racing0:17:51
37Miguel Valadez (Mex)0:18:12
38Dror Pekatch (Isr) Subaru-Gary Fisher0:18:32
39Bryan Alders (USA)0:18:37
40Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Teamgive/Blackbottoms0:18:38
41Kevin Smallman (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing0:19:26
42Drew Edsall (USA) Yeti0:19:40
43Evan Guthrie (Can)0:19:54
44Kerry Werner (USA)0:19:56
45Andrew L'esperance (Can)
46Paul Freiwald (USA) Pivot Cycles0:20:56
47Tim Allen (USA)0:21:09
48Jim Hewett (USA)0:22:07
49Danny Mcnaughton (USA) Content Works/Unseen Machine0:22:16
50Zachary Keller (USA) Form Cycles/Griffin0:23:17

Pulled
#Rider Name (Country) Team
51Michael Mooradian (USA)
52Menso De Jong (USA) Santa Cruz Bicycles
53Jason Siegle (USA) Bike Religion
54Ethan Gilmour (USA)
55Greg Carpenter (USA)
56Scott Keller (USA)
57Eric Emsky (USA) Blue Competition Cycles
58Brent Steinberg (USA) Gary Fisher, 29Er Crew
59Alex Boone (USA) Trek Mtn Co-Op
60Randall Jacobs (USA) Wheelworks Racing
61Justin Maka (USA) Hayes/Spy
62Nitish Nag (USA) NRL Racing
63Haydn Boucher (Can) 3Rox Racing
64Lucas Livermon (USA) Inland
65Ryan Clark (USA) Cynergy Cycles
66John Nobil (USA) Bear Valley Bikes
67Dylan Stucki (USA) Mafia Racing
68Rob Sousa (USA) Pro Cycling
69Trevor Downing (USA) Mafia Racing
70Yuki Saito (Jpn) Topeak-Ergon
71Matthew Connors (USA) Bicycle Ranch
72Tom Obrien (USA)
73Patrick Dennis (Can)
74Eric Bierman (USA) Steven K Sports
75Matthew Paziuk (Can) Trek Store Toronto
76Nicholas Stevens (USA) Waltworks
77Ryan Dorsey (USA) Honey Stonger/Trek
78Garnet Vertican (USA) Big Ring
DNFMatt Miller (USA) Giant Mid Atlantic
DNSAaron Snyder (USA)
DNSErik Tonkin (USA) Kona
DNFDezmin Wilder (USA) Sobe Cannondale
DNFAaron Bradford (USA) Specialized/Onsite Ultrasound
DNFMitchell Hoke (USA) Tokyo Joes
DNFJohn Bennett (USA) Whole Athlete
DNSNicholas Weighall (USA) Radracing NW
DNFBryan Vanvleet (USA) KHS Bicycles
DNFBraden Kappius (USA) Clif Bar
DNFDavid (Tinker) Juarez (USA) Factory Cannondale
DNFCameron Jette (Can) La Bicicletta Elite Team

 

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