Wells seventh at MTB Worlds, four U.S. ladies in top 20


American Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized) just missed giving the U.S its first world championship medal in  elite men’s cross-country in 17 years while four U.S. ladies landed inside the top 20 in the elite cross country-races at the Mountain Bike World Championships on Saturday.
Wells’ seventh-place finish tops his eighth-place personal best set in 2009, giving the Olympian his best world championship mark ever at the age of 36. Fresh off a win at the ultra-endurance Leadville 100, the veteran showed America he is poised for his third run at the Olympic Games. Another veteran American rider, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Trek) also scored his best-ever finish in 12th place.
“It is great to see the elite guys up inside the top 15 as that is really where they belong,” said Marc Gullickson, USA Cycling’s Mountain Bike and Cyclo-cross Programs Director. “This is definitely a good, solid finish to the season and hopefully they can build on this and carry the momentum into next spring.”
Davison surged to finish 10th in the elite women's cross-country race.
Davison surged to finish 10th in the elite women's cross-country race.
Up-and-comer Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt./Specialized) was the top American lady in 10th place with Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Trek), wife of Horgan-Kobelski, on her heels in 11th. Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./ Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) and Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team) finished in 15th and 20th respectively.
Elite Men’s Cross Country
None of the seven elite men had a good start, including Wells who fell to as far back as mid-30s amidst the jockeying for position. Slowly they began moving up with Wells, Horgan-Kobelski and Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont./Subaru-Trek) in the hunt.
Wells and Horgan-Kobelski seemed to find another gear as the rain began to fall mid-way though the seven-lap event. On the final time around Wells surged, passing nearly 10 riders, and finished in a sprint almost within sight of the leaders for seventh. Horgan-Kobelski also turned up the heat, making tough passes on the wet, technical, largely single-track course, to finish in 12th.
Battling back from injury all season, and a weak starting position in this race, Adam Craig (Bend, Ore./Rabobank-Giant) also made up a lot of ground to finish in 34th. Schultz was just behind him in 35th. After a stellar performance at the Olympic test event earlier this summer Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Cannondale Factory Racing) was 43rd, while Spencer Paxson (Seattle, Wash./Kona Bicycles) and Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) were 66th and 68th respectively.
Elite Women’s Cross Country Race
The ladies race got off on a relatively dry course before the rains began, but also suffered from rough starts. Davison and Irmiger were caught behind multiple crashes and found themselves at the very back of the pack on the first lap. The pair proved to be on strong form, picking their way through the pack on a technical course which made passing difficult. The pair eventually ran out of real estate and settled for 10th and 11th respectively around six minutes back from Canada’s Catharine Pendrel who collected her first world title.
“Heather and Lea could have done something huge had they had clean starts,” stated Gullickson.  
Mary McConneloug(Chilmark, Mass./ Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) showed she is back to full strength after illness with a strong 15th place finish. The top American in the world cup rankings, Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team) finished in 20th, almost 10 minutes back. Cyclo-cross world championship medalist Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./ RaboBank-Giant) suffered from a pair of crashes and ended up in 40th. Judy Freeman (Brighton, Colo./Kenda-Felt MTB)  and Krista Park (Madison, S.D./Cannondale-No Tubes) had solid rides on a tough course in 42nd and 45th.
Overall world Cup winner Aaron Gwin (Temecula, Calif./Trek World Racing) will tackle his quest for a downhill world title as the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships wrap-up on Sunday. Watch for a full wrap-up and photosvia usacycling.org.
Follow the Mountain Bike World Championships live on freecaster.tvand watch TV highlights on Universal Sports.
UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
Aug. 31 – Sept. 3, 2011
Champéry, Switzerland
Elite Men’s Cross-Country
1. KULHAVY Jaroslav Kulhavy (CZE) 1:44:30
2. SCHURTER Nino Schurter (SUI) +00:47
3. Julien Absalon (FRA) +01:26
7. Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized) +04:57
12. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Trek) +06:21
34. Adam Craig (Bend, Ore./Rabobank-Giant) +11:18
35. Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont./Subaru-Trek) +11:38
43. Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Cannondale Factory Racing) -1 Lap
66. Spencer Paxson (Seattle, Wash./Kona Bicycles) -2 Laps
68. Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) -2 Laps
Elite Women’s Cross-Country
1. Catharine Pendrel (CAN) 1:46:14
2. Maja Wloszczowska (POL) +00:28
3. Eva Lechner (ITA) +01:36
10. Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt./Specialized) +05:52
11. Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Trek) +06:22
15. Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./ Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) +08:09
20. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team) +09:39
40. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./ RaboBank-Giant) -1 Lap
42. Judy Freeman (Brighton, Colo./Kenda-Felt MTB) -1 Lap
45. Krista Park (Madison, S.D./Cannondale-No Tubes) -2 Laps

This Article Published September 3, 2011 For more information contact: