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Plaxton wins Mellow Johnny's Classic

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Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) wins over Geoff Kabush to make it four wins at the Mellow Johnny's Classic

Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) wins over Geoff Kabush to make it four wins at the Mellow Johnny's Classic
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Elite men's podium at the Mellow Johnny's Classic

Elite men's podium at the Mellow Johnny's Classic
(Image credit: Sho-Air Cycling Group)
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Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) wins the Mellow Johnny's Classic for the fourth time

Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) wins the Mellow Johnny's Classic for the fourth time
(Image credit: Sho-Air Cycling Group)
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The amateur races today had massive fields

The amateur races today had massive fields
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Rotem Ishay (Team Jamis) putting in a top-20 ride

Rotem Ishay (Team Jamis) putting in a top-20 ride
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Steve Tilford (Tradewind Energy) was beating guys half his age as usual.

Steve Tilford (Tradewind Energy) was beating guys half his age as usual.
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) taking a turn at the front on lap two

Todd Wells (Specialized) taking a turn at the front on lap two
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) seemed to be keeping his powder dry through the first couple laps

Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) seemed to be keeping his powder dry through the first couple laps
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) was well aware of the team tactics in play today by the Scott Team

Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) was well aware of the team tactics in play today by the Scott Team
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Derek Zanstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) seems always to ride well at Mellow Johnny's

Derek Zanstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) seems always to ride well at Mellow Johnny's
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Big Ryan Trebon (Sho-Air/Cannondale) could not keep the pace of the leaders today

Big Ryan Trebon (Sho-Air/Cannondale) could not keep the pace of the leaders today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Sho-Air/Cannondale) found himself in a chase group with teammate Ryan Trebon

Sam Schultz (Sho-Air/Cannondale) found himself in a chase group with teammate Ryan Trebon
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Todd Wells (Specialized) leading as they head out for the last lap

Todd Wells (Specialized) leading as they head out for the last lap
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) was totally spent at the finish

Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) was totally spent at the finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The elite men's start at the Mellow Johnny's Classic

The elite men's start at the Mellow Johnny's Classic
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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A Team Clif Bar rider on twisty limestone singletrack

A Team Clif Bar rider on twisty limestone singletrack
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Ryan Trebon (Sho-Air/Cannondale) keeps pace with one of his teammates in the thick forest

Ryan Trebon (Sho-Air/Cannondale) keeps pace with one of his teammates in the thick forest
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-Troy Lee) leads a group through the trees

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-Troy Lee) leads a group through the trees
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-Troy Lee) was up against three Sho-Air/Cannondale riders with one lap to go

Russell Finsterwald (SRAM-Troy Lee) was up against three Sho-Air/Cannondale riders with one lap to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jason Sager (Backcountry.com) leading out a group with one lap to go

Jason Sager (Backcountry.com) leading out a group with one lap to go
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Veteran Jason Sager (Backcountry.com) can ride just about anything

Veteran Jason Sager (Backcountry.com) can ride just about anything
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar) getting a foot down to make this climb

Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar) getting a foot down to make this climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Sam Schultz (Sho-Air/Cannondale) making his return to national racing

Sam Schultz (Sho-Air/Cannondale) making his return to national racing
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Brothers Troy and Todd Wells hanging out before the race

Brothers Troy and Todd Wells hanging out before the race
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) is always competitive at Mellow Johnny's

Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) is always competitive at Mellow Johnny's
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) icing his hands at the warm start

Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) icing his hands at the warm start
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) taking the hole-shot

Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) taking the hole-shot
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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The elite men head out onto the course at the Mellow Johnny's Classic

The elite men head out onto the course at the Mellow Johnny's Classic
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) riding near the front after the start loop

Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) riding near the front after the start loop
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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A Giant rider at the end of the start loop

A Giant rider at the end of the start loop
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) making easy work of this rocky climb

Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) making easy work of this rocky climb
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) took the longer go-around at one of the technical climbs

Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox Racing) took the longer go-around at one of the technical climbs
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Canadian Champion Derek Zanstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) keeping pace with his teammate Geoff Kabush

Canadian Champion Derek Zanstra (Scott 3Rox Racing) keeping pace with his teammate Geoff Kabush
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) had this technical climb dialed in

Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) had this technical climb dialed in
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) riding in the top five

Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) riding in the top five
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Spencer Paxson (Kona) riding to an 8th place finish

Spencer Paxson (Kona) riding to an 8th place finish
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Ryan Trebon (Sho-Air/Cannondale) riding to a 12th place finish today

Ryan Trebon (Sho-Air/Cannondale) riding to a 12th place finish today
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)
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Ben Sonntag (NoTubes) having a superb ride

Ben Sonntag (NoTubes) having a superb ride
(Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

Max Plaxton (Cannondale Factory Racing) opened the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series at the Mellow Johnny's Classic with victory in the elite men's cross country mountain bike race on Saturday in Dripping Springs, Texas.

The young Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing) surprised his elders by leading out the first lap at a blazing pace. Swenson's efforts created a lead group of about a half dozen riders; a chase group pursued the leaders but never could close down the gap.

Unfortunately, Swenson's luck ran out when he flatted on the far side of lap 2 of the six-lap race. That left Plaxton, Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox), Todd Wells (Specialized), Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) and Derek Zandstra (Scott-3Rox) as the leaders.

Freshly back to elite racing, Sam Schultz (Sho-Air/Cannondale) was putting in a strong ride and had worked his way up to sixth place when he also flatted three and a half laps into the race.

The fireworks began on the last lap, and Plaxton launched his winning attack on the final main climb, then held off fellow Canadian Kabush by two seconds at the finish. Wells followed in third another eight seconds later.

It was Plaxton's fourth-ever victory at the Mellow Johnny's Classic.

"Texas is good for me! It’s great to start off this season, my first with Cannondale Factory Racing, and this great new series with a win!" said Plaxton, post-race.

Bishop and Zandstra could not match the pace of the top three on the last lap and fell back a bit, blown by their first big national-level race effort of the season. Bishop rolled in alone to claim fourth place while Zandstra held onto fifth place.

Payson McElveen (Richard's Rainwater MTB Racing) put in the break out performance of the day.  The young privateer finished an impressive sixth place.

After round one of four of the USA Cycling US Cup, the series standings match the results of the initial race. Plaxton leads the series ahead of Kabush and Wells.

The USA Cycling US Cup presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group series will continue with round 2, a UCI Category HC race at Bonelli Park in California on Saturday, March 15.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Plaxton (Can) Cannondale Factory Team1:28:00
2Geoffrey Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing0:00:02
3Todd Wells (USA) Specialized0:00:10
4Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Team Sho-Air/Cannondale0:00:25
5Derek Zanstra (Can) Scott-3ROXRacing0:01:07
6Payson McElveen (USA) Richard's Rainwater MTB Racing0:01:45
7Benjamin Sonntag (Ger) NoTubes Elite Racing0:02:35
8Spencer Paxson (USA) Kona Bicycles0:02:41
9Alex Grant (USA) Team Sho-Air/Cannondale0:03:05
10Russell Finsterwald (USA) SRAM- Troy Lee Designs Race Team0:03:30
11Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona0:04:05
12Ryan Trebon (USA) Team Sho-Air/Cannondale0:04:12
13Troy Wells (USA) Team Clif Bar0:04:23
14Adam Morka (Can) WFP Coaching / Trek Bikes0:04:28
15Hector  fernando Riveros (Col) Scott-RotorUsa KOM marketing0:04:43
16Carl Decker (USA) Giant0:05:07
17Jason Sager (USA) Backcountry.com0:05:20
18Casey Williams (USA) Whole Athlete/Specialized0:05:38
19Rotem Ishay (Isr) Team Jamis Bikes0:05:44
20Mitchell. Hoke (USA) The Pro's Closet - Stan's NoTubes MTB0:05:59
21Tristan Uhl (USA) 787 Racing0:07:38
22Ryan Woodall (USA) The Pro's Closet - Stan's Notubes Mtb Team0:07:41
23Chris Baddick (GBr) Red Ace Organics0:08:05
24Billy Melone (USA) Riverside Racing0:08:18
25Antoine Caron (Can) Specialized Racing Canada0:09:10
26Bryan Alders (USA) Marin Bikes Factory Team0:09:32
27Menso De  Jong (USA) Team Clif Bar Cycling0:10:15
28Jack Hinkens (USA) Penn Cycle Trek0:10:26
29Keck Baker (USA) Champ Sys/Cannondale/C.B.C/Battley Harley0:10:30
30Cole Oberman (USA) RareDiseaseCycling.org0:11:09
31Elliot Reinecke (USA) Velo Hangar FOCUS bikes0:11:30
32Miguel Valadez  Ortiz (Mex) Valle Congelado0:11:43
33Michael Hosey (USA) Soulcraft0:11:46
34David Vaughn (USA) ZiaVelo0:12:17
35Carson Lange (USA) VooDoo Racing0:13:21
36Joseph Maloney (USA) KS Energy Services/Team Wisconsin0:14:14
37Tom Sampson (USA) adigga racing0:14:42
38TJ Woodruff (USA) backcountry.com0:14:54
39Drew Edsall (USA) Pro's Closet / Stan's No Tubes0:15:38
40Gareth Feldstein (USA) Team Muscle Milk/NP Bikes/Cannondale0:16:02
41Skyler Taylor (USA) Bear development team0:16:36
42Brady Stewart (USA) Chain Link Racing0:17:33
43Jordan Kahlenberg (USA) Giant Northeast Pro Team0:17:52
44Keegan Swenson (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing0:18:11
45Rocky Gingg (USA) Momentum Endurance/Cycle Progression0:18:28
46Braden Kappius (USA) Team Clif Bar0:19:21
47Kalan Beisel (USA) Giant-Tuff Shed0:19:27
48Wohlschlaegecraig (USA) Giant0:19:39
-1lapTimothy Rugg (USA) Battley Harley-Davidson
-1lapGaret Steinmetz (USA) Ethos
-1lapPete Macleod (USA) Bar Fly / Blue Hills
-1lapDan Wolf (USA) Pro Tested Gear
-1lapBrian Barrow (USA) The Peddler Bike Shop
-1lapDavid Flaten (USA) Giant North East Off Road
-1lapMadison Matthews (USA) Toasted Head Racing / GU Energy
DNFKerry Werner  Jr. (USA) BMC project Dirt presented by KMC
DNFCameron Jette (Can) Scott-3ROX Racing
DNFSam Schultz (USA) Team Sho-Air/Cannondale
DNFAlex Meucci (USA) Bent's Cycling and Fitness
DNFMartin Cox (USA) Super Cool Bike Shop
DNFSepp Kuss (USA) BMC project Dirt presented by KMC
DNFRyan Geiger (USA) Tropix-FRM Factory Race Team
DNFErnie Watenpaugh (USA) Jack Daniel's
DNFAlex Wild (USA) Trail Head Racing - Specialized
DNFAndrew Dahlheim (USA) Bio Racer Speedwear
DNFSteve Tilford (USA) TradeWind Energy/Eriksen Cycles
DNFIgnacio Torres (Mex) Turbo Mexico
DNSJohn Nobil (USA) bear valley bikes
DNSScott Henry (USA) Cycle Progression

Elite men US Cup brief standings after one round
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Max Plaxton (Canada) Cannondale Factory Racing30pts
2Geoffrey Kabush (Canada) Scott-3Rox Racing27
3Todd Wells (United States) Specialized Racing25
4Jeremiah Bishop (United States) Sho-Air/Cannondale23
5Derek Zandstra (Canada) Scott-3Rox Racing21

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