LONDON (VN) — Americans Todd Wells and Sam Schultz posted the best results ever by U.S. men in Olympic mountain bike competition, finishing 10th and 15th in Sunday’s cross country at Hadleigh Farm.
Wells, a three-time Olympian, had previously finished 19th in the 2004 Athens Games, matching David “Tinker” Juarez’s finish at the inaugural Olympic mountain bike race during the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Wells and Schultz, an Olympic rookie, started slowly in the 34.08km race, finding themselves in the middle of the 50-rider field after the first long lap.
“I didn’t have a very good start,” Wells said. “I started to move up in the middle of the race. I thought I was going to be able to get up to the front group. We were in the second chase group, I think for a while. I had bridged up to that, felt strong, started to go across and then I just ran out of juice.”
Wells had moved into 14th after the second lap, and in the sixth and final go-round found himself in a battle for 10th with Stephane Tempier of France, a fight the American won.
Schultz’s position in the race likewise improved as the race continued. The reigning national champion fought his way forward from 20th to 15th at the finish line.
“It was awesome,” Schultz said. “It was a super, cool race on such a huge stage with tons of people. It was definitely a different level. Tons of good cheers out there. Everyone was super fired up, you could definitely tell. It was a different vibe on the start line than a normal World Cup, which is always super tense. This was definitely up a level, which is really cool.”
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