With reporting from Brecht Decaluwé and Bjorn Haake in Koksijde, Belgium
America's Katie Compton (Spike) confirmed her return to form with a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the Koksijde World Cup on Saturday. Compton out-sprinted World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel and last year's winner, Daphny van den Brand.
"This was a very hard course and it was such a long sprint, but I'm so happy I got this win," Compton said. "Maybe I wasn't the strongest today, but I definitely was the smartest."
Compton struggled earlier in the season with a muscular issue which forced her to drop out of the first World Cup in Kalmthout. She rebounded in time for the Pijnacker round, where she took second, but her low standings in the series only earned a second row starting position. A slow start did not help, and Compton had to chase for two laps before joining the leaders.
"I had a terrible start," Compton explained. "Once I got there [to the front], I took a breather and decided not to attack Van den Brand and Kupfernagel because I was convinced that I wouldn't have been able to drop them."
On the final lap, Van den Brand lost contact on one of the sand dunes, leaving Compton to battle Kupfernagel in the sprint. She was able to position herself behind the German coming into the final bend, giving herself a tactical advantage. "I didn't want to wait too long and focused on creating that first gap in the sprint."
With the win, Compton moved up into seventh in the World Cup, giving her a coveted front row start at the next round in Nommay, France on December 21.
See also the full coverage from Koksijde.