On his penultimate race this season, US Cross Champion Todd Wells (Specialized) finally got his first cross win this year. Though he says that he doesn’t have his top fitness, Saturday’s race was all about finesse, choosing the right line and staying your bike. Hours of overnight rain continuing throughout the day turned the course into a slipe and slide in some spots, especially the zigzag descent down Mt Krumpet – simply it was mud everywhere and staying upright was tricky.
Todd Wells was locked in a duel with Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus) for the final three laps until he took advantage of a bobble on the final lap to take off and take a solo win. Jones, who had been having difficulty with traction throughout the race, crashing multiple times and trying to adjust his tire pressure, was second for the second day in a row.
Another battle for the next spot of the podium won by Tristan Schouten (cyclocrossracing.com) for his first UCI podium of the season.
By the second time down Mt Krumpet, the field was shattered with the Wells brothers, Schouten, Jones and Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Stoemper) off the front. Sensing opportunity, the Wells put in a massive attack and established a gap and once again, like Friday, Jones chased like a man possessed. Younger Wells was not able to keep the pace, dropping off. Jones still chasing, caught and passed Troy Wells to connect with Todd Wells with three laps to go.
Behind them, Berden, who has been sick, faded to fifth followed by Wicks. Brian Matter (Gear Grinder) won the duel for seventh ahead of Matt Shriver. Steve Tilford (Tradewind Energy/Eriksen Cycles) found himself in the top ten in the final laps but made sure to finish 11th and not take any UCI points which would DQ him from the upcoming Masters Worlds.
Of note, the Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com duo of Tim Johnson and Jamey Driscoll did not start the race, the day off was planned weeks in advance according to Johnson.
Racing continues on Sunday with the big daddy, the C1 and everyone will be racing for the points. Temperatures are dropping, which could make the conditions even more interesting.
Todd Wells (Specialized). “Today I felt like I didn’t have a lot of power but knowing how to ride in these conditions and when to put the power down, just how to be as efficient as possible out there on a course like this. Of course, staying on the bike is a big key.”
About being at the front with his brother. “It’s awesome being up there with him. I was happy to see him riding so well and I hoped that we would be able to ride off together and spend the day at the front but it didn’t quite work out that way. It’s still a good ride for him so I’m proud of him.”
Differences between you and Jones. “I was riding my bike and he was belly sliding out there. He probably crashed six times when I was with him. I’m pretty good generally in these types of conditions, I feel like I don’t have as good a form as I thought I would but when it’s slippery like this, it’s more of a finesse thing than it is a fitness thing so I was able to stay on the bike.”
About pitting. “Every lap to every other lap. I probably switched five or six times. On the climb, at the top of the climb there was some long grass, and that mud and the grass was getting caught up in the brakes, that was really the only place it was sticking.”
Chris Jones (Rapha-Focus). “I had some traction issues and unfortunately I crashed a couple of times right in front of him. We had a good battle going until I did that the last lap. Todd is great and I was just having to use traction where I could get it, so I could put the power down. He rode great today.”
About finding the right tire pressure. “We were moving it around, trying to find the perfect one. We didn’t find it but tried to make the best of it.”
Tristan Schouten (Cyclocrossracing.Com P/B Blue). “Troy was riding really well, I think his downfall was trying to ride the downhill on the last couple of laps, He had me gapped pretty good going into that but I think he crashed with two to go and I caught him, and then I was able to sit on him and recover a little bit. Then, I accelerated halfway through the last lap and he couldn’t match it.”
About getting his first podium. “I started in Madison like normal but struggled a little bit to find my legs. I’m really happy to get a result here today, a podium, just take it one step at a time each week. I’m happy for a podium today, that’s always the goal here at JingleCross.”
Top 10 Results
1. Todd Wells (Specialized)
2. Christopher Jones (Team Rapha Focus)
3. Tristan Schouten (Cyclocrossracing.Com P/B Blue)
4. Troy Wells (Team Clif Bar)
5. Ben Berden (Ops Ale-Clement-Stoemper)
6. Barry Wicks (Kona)
7. Brian Matter (Gear Grinder)
8. Matt Shriver (Bontrager/Trek)
9. Corey Stelljes (Willy Bikes)
10. Sven Baumann (Wolverine/Acfstores.Com)