Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant-Off-Road Team) left no doubt that she's the number one-ranked rider in the world as she dismantled a strong women's field on the first of two days at the Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Derby City Cup in Louisville, Kentucky.
Exergy USGP series leader Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) took a hard-fought second place finish, holding off the charge of 19-year-old Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), the reigning US U23 champion who uncorked her best result of the season.
French champion Caroline Mani (CC Etupes), who had been battling with Nash for second place through to the five-lap race's endgame, crashed on the last lap and ultimately finished in fourth. Upon crossing the finish line Mani quickly came to a halt along the retaining fence, in obvious pain from what appeared to be an injured wrist.
While Nicole Duke (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) rocketed off the start line to grab the hole-shot as the field made a sweeping left-hand turn onto grass from the paved start/finish straight, it was Mani who soon took over the pace-making on the opening lap.
After negotiating the flyover and looping around into the wooded section for the first of two sections each lap, Mani led a five-rider selection through a tricky up-and-over sand sector. With the French champion were Compton, Laura Van Gilder (C3 p/b Mellow Mushroom), Duke and Nash.
While Compton initially thought the race would stay together until much later in the contest, nonetheless when presented with an opportunity to shed her rivals the seven-time US champion accelerated away from the lead group early on the second lap.
"I wanted to kind of wait a little but, but I had good legs and felt pretty good," Compton told Cyclingnews. "I noticed after the end of the first lap that there was a little gap between riders. I think Katerina [Nash] was sitting on third or fourth wheel, and I had a little gap so I figured I'd accelerate and make her chase.
"It wasn't planned to get a gap that quickly but I thought I'd just keep on it and keep going hard."
Nash tried to answer Compton's attack, but the effects of bad luck plus an off day were too much to overcome.
"I could see Katie attacking and I came around but I remounted a little too late on the flyover and I broke my seat," Nash told Cyclingnews. "I had to get in the pits right away and change my bike. Completely my fault, the timing wasn't that bad because the pits were right there, but it happened right when Katie took off.
"I had a tough one today," said Nash. "I was fighting myself a lot. I got a little sick yesterday so I'm very pleased to finish second place today, I wasn't a contender for first.
Compton was flawless through the sand sections, the technical sections in the woods, and unleashed voluminous watts of power on the straightaways which she parlayed into a 20-second advantage over her closest chasers at the end of lap two, Mani and Nash.
"It was fast today and the ground was pretty rough so it helps to put it in a bigger gear and pedal harder over all the bumps, and just push on the quick ups and downs," said Compton. "It was really fun, today - a great course and super-fast. The sand sections were just hard enough, I really enjoyed it."
Following close behind were Antonneau and Van Gilder, trailing Nash and Mani by nine seconds.
Nash, Mani and a surging Antonneau battle for podium spots
While Compton steadily pulled away from her rivals, the contest for the remaining podium positions became hotly contested. Nash and Mani, the Czech and French national champions, continued to look for weaknesses to exploit in each other on the fast, Eva Bandman Park parcours, all the while being very conscious of Antonneau's relentless pursuit, as the talented young rider had dispatched of Van Gilder and chased on her own.
"It's nice to have someone to ride with like Carolina [Mani], she was really strong today so we took turns out on the windy course. There were some corners where it (the wind) just hit you, so it was good to partner up with somebody. Considering the wind, it was impressive that Katie got out there and rode by herself the whole time."
After three laps Antonneau trailed Nash and Mani by 13 seconds, entering the final lap she had trimmed it to a tantalizing six seconds.
There was plenty of opportunity for Nash and Mani to gauge the distance to their pursuer on the twisting circuit, and after about 1/3 of the final lap Antonneau had failed to close any further.
Disaster soon struck for Mani, however, as she crashed while on Nash's wheel. The Czech champion never looked back and managed to add a few more seconds of cushion between her and the now third-placed Antonneau.
"It kind of worked out for me in the end but Kaitlin was coming, she was catching up, and I was glad we were done when we were done," said Nash.
"I made a few mistakes on the first lap that separated me from the lead group," Antonneau told Cyclingnews. "I kept chasing, except I kept making mistakes, I think because it was so fast and I was on the whole time.
"I kind of got my act together around the middle of the second lap and I just kept picking people off, pushing and chasing as hard as I could."
Compton, meanwhile, had ample time to celebrate her victory on the home straight with Nash following 30 seconds later.
"I just wanted to make sure I didn't make any mistakes because you can lose quite a bit of time with a crash," said Compton. "I just didn't want to mis-shift, or make any errors on the tight, technical sections.
"The wind was tough because I think it picked up as the race went on," continued Compton. "Maybe I just got tired [laughs], but it definitely felt a little harder on the last lap. Every place we had a headwind it was really bumpy grass, too. I just wanted a smooth race. I pushed hard and hopefully saved a little for tomorrow."
Compton, who coaches Antonneau, was beaming as she high-fived the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com rider soon after she crossed the finish line in third place, the young rider's best result of the season.
"I'm so excited," said Antonneau. "Having Worlds here in 2013 makes it extra-motivating."
Overall, Nash holds a commanding lead in the Exergy USGP series with 230 points earned from three victories and two second-place finishes. The Czech champion leads Compton by 90 points, with Mani a close third just two points shy of Compton.
Nash's Luna Pro Team teammate Georgia Gould holds fourth with 132 points while Meredith Miller (California Giant-Specialized) rounds out the top five with 120 points.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katie Compton (USA) Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team||0:45:11|
|2||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||0:00:31|
|3||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||0:00:41|
|4||Caroline Mani (Fra) CC Etupes||0:01:05|
|5||Chloe Forsman (USA) Crankbrothers||0:01:19|
|6||Laura Van Gilder (USA) C3 Athletes Serving Athletes||0:01:20|
|7||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant Berry/Specialized||0:01:34|
|8||Nicole Duke (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld||0:01:45|
|9||Mical Dyck (Can) Pro City Racing||0:02:14|
|10||Andrea Smith (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||0:02:20|
|11||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:02:25|
|12||Susan Butler (USA) River City Bicyles-Ridley||0:02:29|
|13||Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus Cycling Club||0:02:35|
|14||Katherine Sherwin (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team||0:02:59|
|15||Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Felt|
|16||Coryn Rivera (USA) Marian University||0:03:04|
|17||Nicole Thiemann (USA) Team CF-Elite||0:03:13|
|18||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill pb Seven Cycles||0:03:23|
|19||Crystal Anthony (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||0:03:30|
|20||Devon Gorry (USA) Rambuski Law||0:03:42|
|21||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) California Giant-Specialized||0:03:45|
|22||Julie Krasniak (Fra) Rapha-Focus||0:03:52|
|23||Alice Pennington (USA) Team S&M||0:03:55|
|24||Kelsy Bingham (USA) Roosters/Bikers Edge||0:04:33|
|25||Sarah Maile (USA) Ventana Mountain Bikes||0:04:59|
|26||Rebecca Gross (USA) Tough Girls||0:05:05|
|27||Rebecca Blatt (USA) Team Kenda presented by Geargrinder||0:05:18|
|28||Annajean Dallaire (USA) Racin' for Riley p/b Alderfer Bergen||0:05:29|
|29||Emily Thurston (USA) Stevens||0:05:44|
|30||Jennifer Maxwell (USA) Vandessel Factory Team Pb Sterke Meiden||0:05:48|
|31||Kari Studley (USA) Team Redline||0:05:53|
|32||Kimberly Flynn (USA) USSC-Trek p/b Vantaggio||0:05:56|
|33||Sarah Stewart (Can)||0:06:00|
|34||Jenni Gaertner (USA) Raleigh America||0:06:25|
|35||Linda Sone (USA) Cycle-Smart/Flanders||0:06:33|
|36||Katie Arnold (USA) Echelon Cycling Team||0:06:42|
|37||Sarah Huang (USA) IS Corp|
|38||Corrie Osborne (USA) ISCorp||0:06:50|
|39||Sunny Gilbert (USA) Michelob Ultra - Big Shark Racing||0:07:14|
|40||Ashley James (USA) KCCX Elite||0:07:26|
|41||Melanie Long (USA) Tough Girl-Scott||0:07:36|
|42||Kelly Benjamin (USA) KCCX-Fuji Elite p/b Challenge Tires||0:07:57|
|43||Katrina Baumsteiger (USA)||0:08:01|
|44||Kelly Paterson (USA) Wolverine/ACFStores.com||0:08:04|
|45||Corey Coogan-Cisek (USA) Team Plan C p/b Stevens||0:08:12|
|46||Marne Smiley (USA) Bob's Red Mill pb Seven Cycles||0:08:41|
|47||Kathryn Roszko (USA) BikeReg.com Cycling Club||0:08:47|
|48||Shannon Gibson (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team||0:08:58|
|49||Lynn Bush (USA) Tough Girl-Scott||0:09:22|
|50||Paula Burks (USA) US Stove / Vanatggio fitness||0:09:39|
|51||Anna Dingman (USA) Cycleution||0:09:49|
|52||Elizabeth Cobb (USA) Bikereg.com||0:11:10|
|53 (-1 lap)||Patricia Dowd (USA) Team REP-I COWBELL CX|
|DNF||Meghan Korol (USA) Bob'S Red Mill Cx|
|DNF||Courtney Dimpel (USA) Team Rambuski Law|
|1||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||230||pts|
|2||Katherine Compton (USA) Rabobank-Giant Off-Road Team||140|
|3||Caroline Mani (Fra) CC Etupes||138|
|4||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team||132|
|5||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant-Specialized||120|
|6||Nicole Duke (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||111|
|7||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||98|
|8||Susan Butler (USA) River City Bicyles-Ridley||82|
|9||Chloe Forsman (USA) Crankbrothers||74|
|10||Mical Dyck (Can) Pro City Racing||70|
|11||Katherine Sherwin (USA) Stans's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team||61|
|12||Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus Cycling Club||43|
|13||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles||42|
|14||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) California Giant-Specialized||41|
|15||Kelsy Bingham (USA) Roosters-Bikers Edge||35|
|16||Emily Batty (Can) Subaru-Trek||25|
|17||Laura Van Gilder (USA) C3 p/b Mellow Mushroom||23|
|18||Alice Pennington (USA) Team S&M||20|
|19||Andrea Smith (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||12|
|20||Devon Gorry (USA) Rambuski Law||11|
|21||Linda Sone (USA) Cycle-Smart/Flanders||11|
|22||Rebecca Gross (USA) Tough Girls||10|
|23||Kari Studley (USA) Team Redline||10|
|24||Meghan Korol (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross||8|
|25||Sunny Gilbert (USA) Michelob Ultra - Big Shark Racing||8|
|26||Ashley James (USA) KCCX Elite||8|
|27||Annajean Dallaire (USA) Racin' for Riley p/b Alderfer Bergen||8|
|28||Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda-Felt||6|
|29||Heather Irmiger (USA)||6|
|30||Coryn Rivera (USA) Marian University||5|
|31||Nicole Thiemann (USA) Team CF||4|
|32||Jennifer Gaertner (USA) Raleigh America||3|
|33||Crystal Anthony (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||2|
|34||Lisa Hudson (USA) Feedback Sports||2|
|35||Jeanne Fleck (USA) Velo Duluth - Twin Ports Cyclery||2|
|36||Katy Curtis (Can) Cyclemeisters||2|
|37||Sarah Maile (USA) Ventana Mountain Bikes||1|
|38||Sage Wilderman (USA)||1|