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In addition to racing for the Giant Factory Off-Road Team, 20-year-old Cole Paton is also a student at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Last weekend the XC specialist competed at the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships in Missoula, Montana, scoring wins in both the cross-country and the short-track. Paton also anchored his Skyhawks squad in the Team Relay, leading Fort Lewis to win that race as well as the overall omnium.

“Coming into the national championship weekend, I knew we had the strongest team,” Paton said. “Racing collegiate is really special because unlike any other type of racing, the ultimate goal of the weekend is to win overall as a team. Everyone’s results score points for the team across all different disciplines.”

Paton, riding his XtC Advanced 29 hardtail and wearing the Giant Rev helmet and Charge shoes, kicked things off with a win in the men’s cross-country. Fort Lewis riders took four of the top-five positions, with Paton leading the way. That result marked an improvement over last year, when Paton finished third on the same course.

The following day Paton won the men’s short track, making it a sweep in the XC events. Later in the day he joined three other teammates to win the team relay and give Fort Lewis its 24th national title in the program’s history.

“It was the perfect weekend for me and a huge win for FLC,” Paton said. “We had podiums all across the board in women’s XC, men’s XC, and women’s downhill events and everyone on the team was out cheering for each other. I’ve had a long season of racing and to end it on this high note was pretty special. Now I just have to get caught back up on school again!”

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