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By Staci Reed, VeloNews.com
There were some big men on campus Sunday at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Among the 26 elite male riders in attendance for the UCI C2 Squawker Cross were national champion and Durango resident Todd Wells (GT Bicycles), mountain-bike star Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Litespeed), 2005 U23 cyclocross champion Troy Wells (Clif Bar) and Danish national champion Joachim Parbo (CCV-Protek).
The warm, welcoming weather attracted a modest number of spectators, who watched Wells and Kabush battle it out to the end. The two former Olympians broke away quickly, with Durango’s Joey Thompson (Rocky Mtn. Chocolate Factory) hanging onto their wheels for a few laps and eventually taking third.
“We got off the start fairly quick, and we tested each other out early on,” Kabush said. “Todd was pulling a few seconds every lap, but I was able to stay on his wheel. He stretched it out every lap and eventually I couldn’t really catch up. It was a fun course, though, with a lot of sweeping corners.”
Wells proved strongest in the end, taking the win in 59:47 with Kabush second at 45 seconds back.
“Kabush is such a great rider, and during mountain-bike season he usually gets the better of me, so it was nice to work him over in this race,” Wells said with a laugh.
It was also a welcome change from his performance in the Omnium Mountaineer Cross race in Gunnison the day before, a ride he called “a struggle with a flat tire and a couple of crashes in there.”
“It’s been so dry here that the grass can be kind of slippery,” Wells said. “I ended up winning the Gunnison race, but I felt like I was riding like a beginner.”
In the elite women’s race, the Velo Bella-Kona team dominated, grabbing three of the top four spots, including the top one — Amy Dombroski took the victory in 40:50, 11 seconds ahead of runner-up Melissa Thomas (Team Maxxis).
The 21-year-old Dombroski, who won Saturday’s Gunnison race, charged ahead at the start and never looked back. Thomas stayed on her wheel for most of the race, with Durango’s Kristin Danielson (Velo Bella), Boulder’s Jennifer Tilley (Velo Bella) and Albuquerque’s Nina Baum (Nob Hill Velo) holding on in a three-woman chase group.
“She (Thomas) helped me keep the pressure on myself,” Dombroski told The Durango Herald. “I could see her at every corner, and she was always right there.”
The Boulder resident also told The Herald that she is considering collegiate cycling and applied to Fort Lewis College last week.
Durango, CO. Nov. 11
1. Todd Wells, Gt Bicycles, 59:47
2. Geoff Kabush, Maxxis-Litespeed, at 0:45
3. Joey Thompson, Rocky Mtn Chocolate Factory Cycling, at 1:16
4. Joachim Parbo, Ccv-Protek at 1:26
5. Nicholas Weighall, Rad Racing Northwest, at 1:30
6. Brady Kappius, Clif Bar Development, at 2:57
7. Grant Berry, Rocky Mtn Chocolate Factory Cycling, s.t.
8. Troy Wells, Team Clifbar Cyclocross, at 3:29
9. Danny Summerhill, s.t.
10. Mitchell Peterson, at 4:03
1. Amy Dombroski, Velo Bella-Kona, 40:50
2. Melissa Thomas, Team Maxxis, at 0:11
3. Kristin Danielson, Vela Bella-Kona, at 0:57
4. Jennifer Tilley, Vela Bella-Kona, at 1:10
5. Nina Baum, Nob Hill Velo, at 1:12