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U.S. World Team member Harry Vogel passed Bont's Justin Stelly in the last fifty meters to win today's U.S. 10K Classic in Atlanta.
Vogel and Stelly were part of a lead pack that formed on the first big downhill, shortly after the start of the race.
Also in the pack was Twincam's Eddy Matzger, who attacked repeatedly on uphill climbs. "Eddy Matzger was the only one pushing the pace," said Stelly, 23, of Lafayette, LA.
But Matzger, 43, of Floyd, VA, couldn't get away from the young bucks.
At the top of the final hill, Luigino's Michael Cheek took off sprinting. He grabbed an early lead, but Vogel, Stelly and Chad Horne quickly caught and passed him.
Then Stelly went to the front.
"I had the lead all the way until 50 meters from the finish," he said. "And then I looked back to see where Harry was, and just as I looked to the left, he passed me on the right."
Vogel, 27, of Summerfield, NC, went on to win.
His time was 18 minutes and 36 seconds, nearly a minute faster than the time he posted (19:28.4) in winning last year's 10K Classic.
Darian O'Neil, a 15-year-old member of the junior U.S. World Team, won the women's race.
O'Neil and two members of the senior World Team skated together in a chase pack in the early goings. But O'Neil bolted with a breakaway midway through the race.
She finished 19th overall with a time of 20 minutes and 4 seconds, more than a minute ahead of second-place woman, Mariah Richardson (21:23), a member of the senior World Team.
Asphalt Beach's Jessica Wright was in position late in the race to finish third. But another of the World Team skaters, Chelsea Creveling, caught her near the finish line to grab the last spot on the podium.
The weather in Atlanta was ideal for racing: sunny and mild.
As always at the 10K, the hills were daunting.
Adams Inline's Ty Fidler, competing in his first Classic, said he underestimated the course.
"It is very hilly," said Fidler, who finished 12th. "But it's probably the best 10K you can do. It separates everyone out. ... Those are some big hills."
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