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Keegan Swenson (Santa Cruz Bicycles) won the men’s open division of the Fuego 80K XC race at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, Calif. Champion of the 2021 USA Cycling Men’s Pro Mountain Bike Cross-Country Tour, Swenson completed the 80-kilometer mountain bike course in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds.
After 18 seconds behind, Russell Finsterwald (Specialized Off-Road) secured second place, while Alex Wild was third, another minute back. The trio of mountain bike specialists collected the best points to set the stage for the men’s classification of the Life Time Grand Prix presented by the Mazda series. The next round is scheduled for June 4 at Unbound Gravel 200 in Emporia, Kansas.
“This race has always been important, but there is more to it now. There is more at stake to win. I want to try and get those points before I go into the longer gravel races, but I think consistency is what wins this series,” said Keegan, who is stepping away from XCO World Cup competitions. to focus on the new American off-road series. . He finished seventh at the 2021 Marathon Mountain Bike World Championships.
“I think they are [Life Time] bring more looks to the home scene and it uplifts us all. I think together we will do a good job of elevating the American cycling scene.
Seven riders were out of the pack on the first of two laps that meandered over rolling hills and smooth track at Fort Ord National Monument in northern California. Swenson attacked on the first big climb of lap two to push Finsterwald away and left the other pursuers behind with big time gaps.
The six-race, invitation-only series kicked off Saturday with a total of 60 riders vying for a $250,000 end-of-season purse, split evenly between the top 10 in each class for men and women. The competition requires runners to compete in five of the six events to be eligible for final payouts.
Saturday’s series opener featured 22 of the 30 men on the court. Among the riders not competing was two-time U.S. cross-country mountain bike champion Payson McElveen, who broke his collarbone at The Mid South. He shifted gears to provide guest commentary for the FloBikes broadcast of the race on race day.
Former Rally Cycling pro Rob Britton returned to action with a 10th place finish. A number of other current and former road professionals finished the race in the top 25: current riders of EF Education-EasyPost teammates Lachlan Morton in 11th and Alex Howes in 15th, Adam Roberge (formerly with Elevate- Webiplex Pro Cycling) in 16th, Peter Stetina (formerly with Trek-Segafredo) in 21st and Ted King (formerly with Cannondale-Garmin) in 24th.
Fuego 80K XC was the first of three mountain bike races included in the series, the other two at the end of the summer, Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Leadville, Colorado on August 13 and Chequamegon MTB (40 miles) in Cable, Wisconsin on September 17.
|pos.||Rider name (country) Team||Results|
|22||Ian Lopez De San Roman||0:11:30|
|27||Michael van Den Ham||0:14:48|
|42||Laurens Ten Dam||0:22:13|