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Keegan Swenson went solo early to take victory at the 69-mile (111km) Crusher in the Tushar, extending his lead in the Life Time Grand Prix series by taking the best points for the third race in a row.
The Utah-based racer took the win in his home round with a margin of over 11 minutes and a time of 4:02:24, a new course record. It was, however, a close battle for the remaining podium spots in the race through the Tushar Mountains, which had a 60/40 gravel-to-asphalt split and featured 10,400 feet of vertical drop (3,169m).
2021 winner Peter Stetina, Griffin Easter and Cole Paton were all approaching the line. In the end, Paton won the sprint to take second place while Easter secured the final podium spot ahead of the defending champion.
Swenson, who finished third in his last race with the Crusher in the Tushar in 2017, is a regular on the top steps of the podium this year. The reigning U.S. National Short Track and Cross Country Mountain Bike Champion won the first round of the series, the Sea Otter Classic Fuego MTB 80k in April, then came second to Ivar Slik at Unbound. However, the Dutchman is not part of the Life Time Grand Prix series, so Swenson took the top points.
After the Crusher in Tushar’s win, Swenson is now sitting on the highest possible tally of 90 midway through the series, 15 points ahead of Russell Finsterwald in second, with Alexey Vermeulen 2 more points in third.
“This one felt good, in my home country and I think the course suits me well,” Swenson said of his Crusher victory, before then turning to the next round. “As I’m excited for Leadville, it’s definitely a good practice run and quite comparable to climbing.”
The Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike in Colorado will take place on August 13, then the series will continue with the Chequamegon 40-mile mountain bike in Wisconsin on September 17 and finally the Big Sugar Gravel 100 mile in Arkansas on October 22.
|pos.||Rider name (country) Team||Results|
|9||Laurens Ten Dam||4:18:47|