Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Cyclocross

Wells and Vardaros tops in Lancaster

Todd Wells’ Saturday at the Sportsbook.com Cross in Lancaster, Pennsylvania started and ended with a bang. For starters, the Mongoose-Hyundai rider was rear-ended just 20 feet from the race site. The steep downhill section, just after an intersection, led into a 90-degree left turn into Manor Township Park. As Wells joined the line of traffic waiting to make turn into the parking lot, an unnamed local driver crested the hilltop intersection at speed, first smashing into Wells’ mother, who was driving behind him, and who then slammed into Wells’ rented mini-van. Fortunately, Wells handily

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

By Ryan Newill

Todd Wells’ Saturday at the Sportsbook.com Cross in Lancaster, Pennsylvania started and ended with a bang. For starters, the Mongoose-Hyundai rider was rear-ended just 20 feet from the race site. The steep downhill section, just after an intersection, led into a 90-degree left turn into Manor Township Park. As Wells joined the line of traffic waiting to make turn into the parking lot, an unnamed local driver crested the hilltop intersection at speed, first smashing into Wells’ mother, who was driving behind him, and who then slammed into Wells’ rented mini-van. Fortunately, Wells handily recovered from his fender bender to start and win the men’s elite race ahead of teammate Mark Gullickson.

“I didn’t get much of a warm-up in,” said Wells, “although getting in a car accident kind of gets you blood going, so I guess that’s just as good.”

Wells and Gullickson made their presence felt early in the race, escaping on the first lap with regional strongmen Jos Huseby (Independent Fabrications) and Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-VW). Bishop took to the air, bunny hopping both sets of barriers, and throwing down hard accelerations throughout the opening laps. After a tag-team attacking effort from Wells and Gullickson, Huseby was the first to fall off the pace while Wells finally broke free alone. Behind, Gullickson kept close tabs on Bishop. Through the second set of barriers, situated on a flat, grassy left hander, Gullickson ran ahead of the airborne Bishop to create a gap and bridge to his waiting teammate.

On the fast, flat course, there was no way to contend with the leading pair’s cooperation. “We were just fortunate to get a gap early, and when Todd’s taking pulls and I’m taking pulls it’s hard for anyone to really close it down on us once we have a gap,” said Gullickson. With the Mongoose pair off and away, attention turned to the battle for third place, as Huseby had recovered from his earlier efforts and was tailing Bishop around the course. With two laps remaining, Huseby arrived back on Bishop’s wheel, setting up for what looked like the best fight of the day, but their tandem was short lived.

While it had gained him ground throughout the race, Bishops spectacular bunny hopping style ultimately cost him when it mattered most. “I thought were going to have a good battle when he caught me,” said Bishop, “but I stuffed it into the barrier, flew over the bars, and looked up at the sky in my confusion and saw my bike coming at me. Then I kind of had a little bit of a bad bike change and he ended up getting me today.”

Huseby’s plan, meanwhile, had worked out almost perfectly. “I knew he was going to hop the hurdles, so I just sort of pressed it a little harder before the hurdles because I knew that would be to my advantage. When you push it that hard you can’t always time it quite right. I didn’t want him to crash, obviously, but I knew it would make it more difficult.” Huseby ran straight past the tangled Bishop, who grabbed a spare bike and hung on to a hard-fought fourth place.

As for Wells and Gullickson, the finish was pre-ordained, and Wells edged ahead of Gullickson in the home straight for a comfortable victory salute.

“It’s a long season, and (Wells) and I are teammates, so it’s not really worth wasting ourselves attacking each other, so it was good,” said Gullickson, still fresh of the previous week’s win in Amherst, Massachusetts. “He worked for me in Gloucester and Amherst, which were the last 2 races we did together, so it’s only fair that he got this one.”

In the women’s race, the absence of the dominant Carmen D’Aluisio (Clif Bar) opened the door for some new faces to show at the front in Lancaster. Christine Vardaros (SallySpicer.com), in from her home in California for a two-week eastern racing swing, came out punching after her 5th place in Amherst, and saw nothing but clear course ahead of her on the way to the win.

“I had a bad start (at Amherst), but I took my time and worked my way through the field and made it to fifth, so I was happy,” said Vardaros. “This week was definitely a lot better for me. I took the lead from the start and never looked back.”

Had she looked back, she would have seen Freddy Fu’s road racing stalwart Charmain Breon hammering away in second position. Breon’s second place finish behind the World Cup-seasoned Vardaros was an especially good one, considering it was only her second ‘cross race.

“When she took off like that, I thought ‘oh my gosh, I’d better get going.’ (Vardaros) had a good gap right from the get go. I had to try to get around a few people and the gap got bigger and bigger, and I’m just terrible at the barriers,” said Breon, who harbors no dreams of a trip to Belgium in the dead of winter. “This is just kind of the off season fun stuff.”

For Vardaros, though, the block of UCI points she scored in Lancaster were part of a plan that dates to the end of last season. “I’m doing everything I can to try to qualify for the world championship team,” said the Californian, “Last year I was the first alternate for the national team. I did a couple of World Cups and came in top 10 in both of them this last January so this year I want to represent the US with the world. That’s my goal.”

Behind the lead duo, Erin North (Trek-VW) and Amber Itle (Wissahickon) took the third and fourth spots respectively, and Josie Shew (First State Velo Sport) rounded out the top five.Sportsbook.com’s Lancaster Cross results:Elite Men
Place LAST NAME FIRST NAME TEAM time
1 Wells Todd Mongoose 57:28
2 Gullickson Marc Mongoose 57:30
3 HUSEBY Johannes Independent Fabrication/CCB/VW 58:37
4 Bishop Jeremiah Trek VW 59:07
5 Weinert Jeff Independent Fabrication 1:00:11
6 Anthony Josh Cyclocross World 1:00:11
7 *Trebon Ryan Highlands Cycling 1:00:38
8 Leech Ryan Guys 1:00:38
9 Shogren Gunnar Guiness 1:00:38
10 YOZELL michael Guys bicycle club 1:00:26
11 Auer Kris LSV Trek 1:00:58
12 Groom Sean Snow Valley 1:01:00
13 BRUNO jonathan Quad Cycles 1:01:00
14 LEACH Leslie Club Wissahickon 1:01:29
15 DWIGHT Brandon Excel Sports/Ritchey 1:01:41
16 Storm Charles Cycling Spoken Here 1:02:10
17 Meyerson Adam NCC/Bikereg.com 1:03:02
18 CARD JONATHAN CANE CREEK/KAVIK BICYCLES 1:03:02
19 Weaver Ransom Guys 1:03:02
20 Reynolds Joe Wissahickon 1:03:02
21 NOBLE Phil Airborne 1:03:02
22 WALKER Jeremy Suburban Homes 1:03:11
23 Elliston Bill Jaeger 1:03:58
24 Boilideau JD NCC/Bikereg.com 1:04:32
25 *Hanson John NECSA 1:04:43
26 *WITTWER gregory charlottesville racing club 1:04:43
27 ALLEN David KHSnm.com 1:05:29
28 Ferguson Greg Wissahickon 1:06:15
29 SENFT Al Northern Kentucky Flyers/Montgomery Cyclery 1 lap
dnf *Bobby Lea Team Fuji dnf
dnf RIEDEL John Independent Fabrication dnf
dnf TOWNSEND Ethan Red Rose Rockets dnf
dnf Menard Skip Snow Valley dnf
dns Kuhn Mike PA Pensioners dns
dnf Slick Eric Monkey Hill dnf
dnf Dewald Ryan Beans dnf
dnf *Wells Troy Kingston Cyclery dnf* denotes U23Elite Women
Place LAST NAME FIRST NAME TEAM time
1 Vardaros Christine 43:42
2 BREON Charmian 45:22
3 North Erin Trek/VW 46:18
4 ITLE Amber Wissahickon 46:42
5 Shew Josie FSVS 47:41
6 Fournier Sami Snow Valley 47:48
7 Litka Kerry Wheelsworks 47:56
8 Scheffenacker Kristy Snow Valley 47:57
9 OESTERLING Kristine Trek/VW/JBL 47:59
10 DASILVA Thais Dogfish 49:30
11 MILLER Erica Wissahickon 49:43
12 Stoeckl Bonni Evolution 50:32
13 VIBLE Lisa First State Velo Sport 51:14
14 MORGAN Jill Evolution Pro Bike 51:27
15 Ebersole Tammy Evolution 51:47
16 HECKLER Sue Evolution Pro Racing 53:40
17 Saraceni Christine Mambo Kings 54:12
dnf ANDERSON Donna Evolution Racing dnf
dnf Yoder Kelly Freddie Fu dnf
dns Lea Tracy Fuji dns
Complete results can be found at www.monkeyhillcs.com/mac