Give a big how-do to your new US champions. Georgia Gould and Sam Schultz will rock the Stars and Stripes for the rest of the season.
On the heels of two near-misses at the World Cup the past two stops, Georgia Gould’s luck stayed as good as her talent. After cramps at Mont Ste. Anne and a mechanical on the final lap at Windham, Georgia Gould marshaled in a strong early move from Heather Irmiger to take a solid win at the US Championships on Saturday. Gould is the US’s best hope for a medal in the fast approaching Olympics, where she’ll be up against her Luna Chix teammate Catherine Pendrel from Canada as a favorite for a podium place. It’s Georgia’s biggest win and by far her best season of her career, and no rider in the US has had as successful a World Cup season in recent memory. She’s steadily built up from her early season into prime condition. She’s one of the most deserving riders, too, and a fan favorite.
In the Men’s race, Sam Schultz battled hard with defending champion Todd Wells until the last lap. With Schultz superior on the climbs and Wells absolutely slaying the descents, the race was neck and neck until Schultz pulled out a 20 second lead. Behind, Wells suffered a flat tire, but held on for second place on the last lap. It’s young Sammy Schultz’s first national championship and signals a sort of changing of the guard for the American men. With Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Todd Wells still strong riders, their best days are behind them and Schultz is the top hope in London. The Subaru-Trek rider made his first Olympics and will head to London not only as US champion but the best American hope for a high place. Canada’s Max Plaxton should be the best North American rider over the pond, but Schultz is going to be a strong challenger.
A massive congratulations to Georgia Gould and Sam Schultz on their US Championship wins. Make sure you set your DVR to record the Men’s and Women’s Mountain Bike races at the Olympics on August 11.