Sophie De Boer suffered immensely on the final lap of World Cup opening round at CrossVegas, but the Dutch rider found the strength in the last half of the grass course to take the win in a three-up sprint ahead of reigning champion and three-time winner Katerina Nash and Katie Compton.
"On the last half lap they dropped me actually," De Boer said in the finishing straight. "I never thought I could come back, but then in the last half lap they were waiting, so I thought, 'Oh, I'm just going to go for it.' My teammate, he was screaming that I should be first at the stairs, so I just gave it a go, and yeah, we had the sprint but I never thought I could win because they had dropped me already."
De Boer credited the rivalry between Nash and Compton for leaving the door open for her win.
"Yeah, I think so," sehe said. "In the last lap we were all looking at each other. When Katie attacked really strong I dropped, but they were looking at each other so I thought I'd take my chance."
How it unfolded
Eva Lechner led the group into the first set of barriers in the slow going on the mostly grass course. The favourites bunched near the front throughout the first lap as the field began to string out behind on the thick turf.
Lechner opened a small gap after the first time up the off-camber sand pit, but the Italian speedster didn’t press the advantage as the leaders regrouped on the front. Catherine Pendrel took the lead on the second lap, continuing the pressure her teammate Lechner applied on lap 1.
Pendrel opened a gap on the staircase section and began to power away with some serious separation, leading into the third lap with a chase group of three making contact just after the start-finish.
Nash, Compton and De Boer joined Pendrel off the front in the new lead group of four, with of the field beginning to blow apart as riders surged to try and reconnect with the front of the race.
Amanda Miller and Carline Mani separated from the chase and looked like the make contact on lap three, but they lacked the horsepower, and the leaders started the fourth lap with Compton still powering the group.
Compton took advantage of the situation to slip to the back of the lead quartet for some recovery, while De Boer went to the front and supplied the power. Pendrel appeared to be struggling to keep the pace, yo-yoing in and out of the lead group as Miller and Mani were joined by Rebecca Fahringer in the first chase.
De Boer pushed the pace through the sand pit on lap four, jettisoning Pendrel from the lead group, although the Canadian limited her losses and continued to ride between the three leaders and the three chasing riders.
The chasers soon linked up with Pendrel as Nash, Compton and De Boer kept their lead. Nash went to the front toward the end of lap four, but the reigning champion wasn’t able to drop the others.
Pendrel bobbled on a run-up during the fifth lap and lost contact with the chase group, leaving three riders in the front and three riders chasing just a few seconds behind.
The leaders continued to swap places on the front of the group, with none appearing to want to risk expending the energy early to try and drop the other two on the power-sapping turf.
The lead trio started the final alp with a 10-second advantage, and the podium places began to look certain to come from this group.
Compton put in a move on one of the short climbs, but Nash and De Boer wouldn’t be shaken. Nash put in a move on the next climb, shaking De Boer out of the group while Compton clung to Nash’s wheel.
Compton attacked next, with the same result as Nash’s earlier move, while De Boer fought to regain contact, dangling just behind the leaders. She regained contact in the sand pit, but then quickly faded again.
Nash led into the final set of stairs as De Boer fought her way back one more time. De Boer took the lead on the stairs and began to power away as Nash struggled to stay in contact with Compton on her wheel.
The trio linked up again and approached final corner together, with De Boer surging to the lead metres before the line to take the win.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Sophie De Boer (Ned)||0:47:11|
|2||Katerina Nash (Cze)|
|3||Katherine Compton (USA)|
|4||Amanda Miller (USA)||0:00:19|
|5||Caroline Mani (Fra)||0:00:26|
|6||Rebecca Fahringer (USA)||0:00:39|
|7||Catharine Pendrel (Can)||0:01:07|
|8||Ellen Noble (USA)||0:01:22|
|9||Sanne Cant (Bel)||0:01:30|
|10||Courtenay Mcfadden (USA)|
|11||Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel)|
|12||Loes Sels (Bel)||0:01:50|
|13||Sunny Gilbert (USA)||0:01:55|
|14||Mical Dyck (Can)||0:02:02|
|15||Emma White (USA)||0:02:06|
|16||Eva Lechner (Ita)||0:02:10|
|17||Ellen Van Loy (Bel)||0:02:20|
|18||Elle Anderson (USA)||0:02:29|
|19||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA)||0:02:57|
|20||Jessica Cutler (USA)||0:03:09|
|21||Amanda Nauman (USA)||0:03:30|
|22||Kathryn Cumming (USA)||0:03:35|
|23||Sandra Walter (Can)||0:03:43|
|24||Sofia Gomez Villafane (Arg)||0:04:19|
|25||Arley Kemmerer (USA)|
|26||Cindy Montambault (Can)||0:04:41|
|27||Crystal Anthony (USA)||0:05:07|
|28||Cassandra Maximenko (USA)||0:05:13|
|29||Jena Greaser (USA)||0:05:58|
|30||Sidney Mcgill (Can)||0:06:04|
|31||Caitlyn Vestal (USA)||0:06:13|
|32||Ashley Barson (Can)||0:06:30|
|33||Siobhan Kelly (Can)||0:08:02|
|34||Maria Larkin (Irl)|