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Two-time Olympian Wells wins fourth national STXC title

The 2013 USA Cycling Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships ended Sunday with the men’s and women’s short track cross-country and super-D races.

Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), a 2008 and 2012 U.S. Olympian, rebounded from a runner-up finish in Saturday’s cross-country race to win the short track cross-country title ahead of Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team) and Jeremiah Bishop (Team Sho-Air-Cannondale) at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pa. It was the fourth such national championship of his career.

“Ettinger caught me after two laps in,” Wells said in a USA Cycling story. “I sat on his wheel through the start/finish, then I just went to the front and keep it open. I didn’t want to look back. If the guys see you looking back when they’re chasing, they know you’re hurting.”

In the men’s super-D race, Seamus Powell rode the course three seconds faster than Neko Mulally to earn the victory. Placing third was Casey Williams (Whole Athlete-Specialized), about 14 seconds behind Powell.

The course had the riders descend 500 feet over a little more than three miles, and it featured plenty of rock gardens. Since the grade was not as steep as in years past, however, riders were forced to pedal harder.

The women’s short track cross-country title went to Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing), who broke away from Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club) and Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) in the final lap. Woodruff and Gould held on for second and third.

“My strategy was to save as much energy as I could until the right moment,” said Davison, who made her decisive move on the backside climb on the course. “My legs, like everybody’s legs, were a little bit tired today after that hot effort [Saturday]. I tried to get second wheel when it really came to crunch time. My best bet was to punch it up the climb and see if it worked out.”

Davison came close to ending her weekend with a double victory before taking second in the women’s super-D event. Teal Stetson-Lee (Team Luna Chix) recorded a time of 8:45.015, roughly 10.5 seconds faster than Davison. Placing third was Rose Grant (Sportsman & Ski Haus).

“Awesome. Amazing,” Stetson-Lee said. “I’m definitely a cross-country racer at heart, but descending has always been one of my passions. Getting to combine the two in the Super-D is ideal. I’ve never won a national title before.”

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