In a replay of last year's dominance, Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) gained an early advantage and held it to win the Colorado Cross Classic on Saturday. As Compton stretched her lead it appeared second place would come from the chase group of Nicole Duke (Marin/Spy), Crystal Anthony (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), and Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized). But Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club) hustled from the back of the start grid to fifth position on course, chipped away at the distance between herself and the chasers, and claimed a surprising second. Providence Cyclo-cross Festival winner Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) was absent.
The women's race began soon after a citizen's lap in honor of recently deceased Amy Dombroski. In a gesture to reinforce the well-liked racer's continued presence in the cycling community, bib number one was assigned to Dombroski.
Raleigh-Clement's Caroline Mani captured the holeshot with Compton, Duke, Anthony, and Miller right behind. Miller's new teammate Elle Anderson slipped a chain in the start grid and began her race toward the back of the field.
Compton attacked quickly. "There were so many corners I had to be in the front early," she said. The national champion lost a handful of places when she crashed in one of the first turns but re-established her position as the clear leader by the start of the second lap.
As Duke, Anthony, and Miller chased, Miller attempted to sneak by Duke on a corner and then in lap four passed the Marin/Spy rider in the sandpit. But as she tried to carry her speed, Miller crashed on a tight corner and lost some time.
In the final lap, Woodruff's consistent stalking paid off and she moved to next wheel after Compton. Saying she's a mountain biker, Woodruff attributed her result to focusing on her own race. "I was never far from that group of three up ahead," she said. "I was having fun out there. Just trying to ride my bike fast and make one lap better than the next."
Duke attacked in the final lap, passing Anthony. But she couldn't hold off the Optum rider who finished in third ahead of her. Miller completed the top five.
Anthony said she came to the race a little concerned about racing at altitude and carefully monitored her limit. "There were a couple of times when I backed off a little bit," she said, "but I felt good, had good legs. Chloe just was really strong at the end."
Post-race, Anderson seemed content with seventh place. "I was feeling pretty good…It's just as fun wherever you are in the field. It was not a bad day considering." Anderson, who's racing age is 26, brought with her a string of recent wins.
Duke recognized the course's many corners suited her but felt they suited others as well, citing the younger crop of riders who are adding strength to the women's field. "These girls have gotten a lot stronger, and it's not just strength in their pedaling power," Duke explained. "It's also in their technical skills and I've noticed that riding behind a lot of these young riders."
Compton's gotten stronger as well as she's recovered from a summer of illness and injury. "I'm happy to win," she said after claiming her first of the season. "I had a pretty good day and technically I felt pretty good. I'm just happy to get back to my old self and win a race."
When asked if the memory of Amy had been with her as she rode, Compton replied, "I'm thinking about the lines, the effort. But when you're suffering, you're working hard, yes, she's always there. It's one of those things where I'm going to appreciate every day of it. Even though it hurts, I'm still here, I'm still enjoying it."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katherine Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective||0:39:55|
|2||Chloe Woodruff (USA) Crankbrothers||0:00:38|
|3||Crystal Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:00:41|
|4||Nicole Duke (USA) Marin/Spy||0:00:43|
|5||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant Berry/Specialized||0:01:24|
|6||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld||0:01:38|
|7||Elle Anderson (USA) California Giant Berry/Specialized||0:02:04|
|8||Judy Freeman (USA)||0:02:05|
|9||Caroline Mani (Fra)||0:02:15|
|10||Courtenay Mcfadden (USA)||0:02:18|
|11||Sunny Gilbert (USA)||0:02:21|
|12||Jessica Cutler (USA)||0:02:49|
|13||Emily Kachorek (USA)||0:02:53|
|14||Beth Ann Orton (USA)||0:02:59|
|15||Amanda Carey (USA)||0:03:02|
|16||Rebecca Gross (USA) Tough Girl||0:03:11|
|17||Caitlyn Vestal (USA) Feedback Sports Racing||0:03:15|
|18||Ellen Sherrill (USA)||0:03:20|
|19||Kristin Weber (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport||0:03:43|
|20||Rebecca Blatt (USA) Van Dessel||0:03:49|
|21||Melissa Barker (USA) GS Boulder - Studio One Dental - Organic India||0:03:52|
|22||Anna Dingman (USA)||0:04:00|
|23||Sofia Gomez Villafane (Arg)||0:04:03|
|24||Laurel Rathbun (USA) ExergyTWENTY12||0:04:07|
|25||Jessica D'amato (USA) Evol Foods||0:04:13|
|26||Katie Melena (USA)||0:04:16|
|27||Amanda Nauman (USA)||0:04:24|
|28||Kate Powlison (USA) Evol Foods||0:04:26|
|29||Nina Baum (USA)||0:04:42|
|30||Kristal Boni (USA) Rapid Racing||0:04:44|
|31||Lisa Hudson (USA) Feedback Sports Racing||0:05:14|
|32||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA)||0:05:38|
|33||Shannon Gibson (USA)||0:06:17|
|34||Karen Brocket (USA)||0:06:29|
|35||Sarah Sturm (USA)||0:07:02|
|36||Heather Fischer (USA)||0:07:04|
|37||Lindsay Lorenz (USA)||0:08:07|
|38||Ivie Crawford (USA)||0:08:23|