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PORTLAND, Oregon (VN)_ One face turning up Sunday at the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross Stanley Portland Cup will be a surprise to some. Todd Wells (Specialized), the current cross-country and short-track mountain bike national champion, will take the start Sunday, reversing his earlier plan to return home to Durango, Colorado, after Saturday’s C1 event.
“I’m going to stick around,” Wells told VeloNews Saturday night. “Today didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, so I’m going to stick around and race tomorrow. I feel like at Jingle Cross I got better each day and if I’m getting better each day, I must need more racing.”
Wells finished fifth Saturday, a career result for many, but a disappointment for the VeloNews North American Mountain Biker of the Year. Wells is a former cyclocross national champion and with nationals seven days away in Bend, Oregon, he hoped to carry momentum out of the weekend. Despite having a ticket home in his pocket, Wells will take the start in search of some indication that his form is coming around a day after running out of gas in the final 20 minutes.
“I’m a little mystified as to my form right now,” said Wells, who took two weeks off in early October and was forced off the bike for a week after a nasty crash in November. “But last year I had great legs, awesome races this weekend here in Portland and then I was a non-factor at nationals. I’m not too bummed out because last year I won the first day here and then I ended up not doing well at nationals, so I’m hoping for the opposite.”
Wells expected to stay in Oregon now between the USGP and nationals. “I’d like to go home,” he said. “I’ll be at sea level for a week or so, which is a little different that going home and being at a higher altitude.”
The USGP of Cyclocross finale gets underway Sunday at 1:45 p.m. Pacific with the elite women. The elite men follow at 3:00 p.m. Stay tuned to VeloNews.com for live video coverage of both events.