Having won her 10th US cyclo-cross title and secured her second consecutive world cup overall, Katie Compton has been on track for the strongest challenge to the coveted rainbow jersey of world champion of her career, but her preparation suffered a setback when she had to drop out of the Nommay World Cup last Sunday because of an allergy attack.
Currently staying in her European base in Kalmthout, Belgium, Compton is feeling optimistic about being back to fighting form by Saturday for the world championships, when she will face the daunting task of unseating defending champion Marianne Vos on her home turf in the Netherlands.
"I'm feeling better now, still really tired though," Compton told Cyclingnews. "It always takes me a few days to recover from an allergic response like that. I should be OK by the weekend. A little rest right now is good anyway."
Before heading to Europe, Compton said that she was hoping for a rainy race, not too cold but not too warm. "40-45 degrees (Farenheit) is comfortable, the warm up is easier, you can wear shorts. I like that temperature." The forecast is calling for those exact conditions.
"The weather really dictates how the course rides," she said of Hoogerheide. "If it's frozen, it's fast, if it is muddy, it's heavy and hard."
Compton has not visited the course yet, but plans to head up to Hoogerheide on Friday to preview the course. She expects conditions to suit her. "There are some changes this year and I think they are good. I also know it will be heavy since rain is in the forecast and it doesn't look like the ground will be frozen."
Compton knows that it will be hard to beat Vos on her home turf, but has been pleased with how she has raced so far this season.
"It's Vos's home turf, and the Dutch fans will go crazy for Worlds. She always puts on a good show, and she won the World Cup there.
"This year is one of my best shots. I've beaten Vos more than once this year for the first time since 2007 or 2008, and I'm riding well."
Despite her setback this weekend, Compton still has ambitions of coming out on the top step of the podium on Saturday.
"I just want to have a good race on Saturday, one I can be proud of with no mistakes, no breathing issues and fast, strong legs. If that happens I have a really good chance of winning.
"Either way, I'm happy with my season, whether I'm first or second."