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USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships - CN
Mt. Snow, Vermont, USA, July 17-22, 2008
Race 1 - Thursday, July 17: U23 men's cross country
Elliot wins title after Jurekovic crashes
By Dave McElwaine in West Dover, Vermont
Tad Elliott (U-23 National Team) earned a surprise victory after his team-mate and defending champion Sam Jurekovic crashed out of the race. Mitchell Peterson (MonavieCannondale.com) led for three laps but could not hold off a charging Elliott on the final lap. Colin Cares (U-23 National Team) rode a very consistant race to finish third.
Jurekovic had been considered the heavy favorite to repeat as champion. "I was bummed to see Sam on the ground," said Elliott. "He was obviously the strongest rider this week."
The cross country course at Mount Snow has been significantly redesigned this year. The "parade lap" now includes a fast descent down a fire road with several water bars.
"There's a section where the downhill course and cross country course are parallel," Jurekovic said. "There was a downhiller just practicing who came into my field of vision and kind of freaked me out...like he was going to hit me. I just took my eye off the road."
Peterson looked very strong but noticeably faded on the last lap. "I'm tired from the BC Bike Race and have a sinus infection," said Peterson. "I couldn't keep holding my pace and Tad was really strong so he just dropped me."
Elliot admitted that he wanted to step up after seeing his team-mate crash. "On the last lap Mitch and I were climbing together," he said. "Mitch was leading. Then on the steep fire road climb he put a surge in and I countered…then I just kept my head down."
How it unfolded
Peterson won the start and led up the first climb, but Jurekovic and Cares passed him near the top and led down the descent where Jurekovic crashed. The other racers had their hands full trying not to run Jurekovic over as he lay on the course.
Peterson finished lap one out front with Elliot 10 seconds back, followed by Cares. After lap two Peterson had opened a 24 second gap to Elliot, and Carres was a full minute further back.
At the end of three laps Peterson was caught by Elliot. After the "parade lap" they were still together as they headed back up the mountain for the remainder of lap three. They traded leads a couple times until Elliot got away for good. He finished two minutes ahead of Peterson in a time of 1:48:57.
Cares rode in with a big smile on his face another two minutes behind Peterson, finishing third.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
1 Tad Elliott (U23 National Team) 1.48.57 2 Mitchell Peterson (MonavieCannondale.com) 2.02 3 Colin Cares (U23 National Team) 3.46 4 Travis Livermon (Kobold) 4.10 5 Tim Allen (Voodoo) 5.49 6 James Driscoll (Floridifrutta) 6.00 7 Stephen Ettinger (Black Diamond) 8.00 8 Greg Carpenter (Team Devo) 8.24 9 Mitchell Hoke (Tokyo Joes) 9.15 10 Mcconnell Franklin (Team Devo) 9.21 11 Kyle Hammaker 9.29 12 Aaron Snyder (Scotts) 9.30 13 Victor Alber (Fatcat) 11.16 14 Ethan Gilmour (U23 National Team) 14.12 15 Andrew Alesio (Fuji Bikes) 14.33 16 Tristan Cowie (Sycamore) 14.39 17 Colin Osborn (Team Bike.) 14.45 18 Dylan Alesio (Fuji Bikes) 14.52 19 Chris Peterson (Team Devo) 16.39 20 Alex Ryan (Kobold/Cannnodale) 16.50 21 Kirk Turner (Bikeman.Com) 17.25 22 Bradford Perley (Cape-Able) 19.46 23 Blake Harlan (MonavieCannondale.com) 21.55 24 Martin Cox (Scott/SRAM) 25.56 Lapped 25 Harry Precourt (Bikeman.Com) 26 Mitch Comardo (Bike Barn) DNF William Rowland (Bliss Racing) DNF Sam Jurekovic (U23 National Team) DNF Menso De Jong (Metromint) DNF Matt Rotroff (BTD/Inland) DNF Pete Ostroski (Red Jersey) DNF Gian Dalle Angelini