Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) once again put on a world-class cyclo-cross clinic at Eva Bandman Park as the reigning national champion took a convincing solo victory to sweep the weekend's US Gran Prix of Cyclocross Derby City Cup. In a repeat performance from the previous day's podium, Luna Pro Team teammates Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould again finished second and third, 1:04 and 1:28 off the pace of Compton respectively.
British champion Helen Wyman (Kona), who took the day's hole-shot, also duplicated her previous day's result with a fourth place effort, 1:50 behind Compton's winning time.
"Today I was just riding to make sure I could attack certain sections of the course, thinking about the world championships and where I'd attack, where I need to recover and making sure I could ride the sand pit and push in certain sections," Compton said in the post-race press conference. "I was really trying to be smooth - getting the shifting down, the braking down, the lines down."
Nash was satisfied with her second consecutive runner-up result, with an eye towards building form for Worlds in early February next year at the same venue. "It was a good weekend. The courses were great both days. They were challenging - a lot of getting on and getting off. It was cool cyclo-cross and I'm pretty happy."
While the end result was the same for Gould as the previous day, she was pleased with her start which put her into the mix earlier in the six-lap race.
"I definitely had a little bit better start today and my legs were feeling a little bit better," said Gould. "The gaps sort of opened up early and I guess it's sort of nice to be securely on the podium but at the same time it's also more exciting for you guys to watch when we're battling it out more.
"Sorry that I couldn't get up there and battle with you guys," Gould joked with Compton and Nash, "If you slowed down I could have got up there to do it!"
Racers faced cooler temperatures and blustery conditions at the Louisville, Kentucky race venue, plus a few modifications to the course, most notably the position of the two sand sections. The long, undulating sand section which was situated early in the lap on Saturday swapped locations with the smaller sector and both were approached from opposite directions. This played even more to Compton's favour as the run-in to the longer sand sector was no longer assisted with some speed from a slight downhill, but put a premium on pure power as there was now a slight elevation gain from entrance to exit.
After Wyman nabbed the hole-shot and led over the railroad tie run-up a quartet of riders came to the fore featuring Compton, Nash, Wyman and her compatriot Gabby Day (Rapha-Focus). The first chase group consisted of Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna Pro Team), Caroline Mani (Rapha-Focus), Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) and Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus).
By the end of the opening lap, however, Compton and Nash shed their British rivals and crossed the finish line in the lead while Wyman trailed by six seconds and Day followed at 10 seconds.
Nash pushed the pace on the open sector of Eva Bandman Park, across the flyover and up the limestone step sector, but late in the lap as they hit the long sand section for the second time Compton applied pressure and put Nash on the defensive. The Czech rider would regain contact with Compton as they approached the finish line, but Compton put in another dig which ultimately snapped the elastic to Nash. While the previous day a mishap by Nash at the barrier section provided the separation between her and Compton, today it was sheer strength which propelled Compton into the lead.
"Going through the sand pit is really hard and it's really hard after the sand pit," Compton told Cyclingnews. "You turned to the pavement with a headwind, so it's insult to injury right there.
"I made sure I got into the sand pit first and get onto the pavement and accelerate again, just go hard and make her (Nash) work for it. I pushed a little bit [on the first lap] and then she closed it. We rode the next lap together, I did that again in the sand pit and that was just enough to kind of break the rubber band."
Meanwhile, Georgia Gould had made contact with Wyman and the duo ended the second lap nearly 30 seconds behind Compton. Day rode alone in fifth, with Antonneau in sixth.
Midway through the third of six laps Gould had dropped Wyman and the top four - Compton, Nash, Gould and Wyman - settled into their own rhythms on the windswept circuit. By the lap's conclusion Compton held a 13-second lead over Nash, a 41-second margin on Gould, while Wyman trailed at 49 seconds.
"Today was definitely better, it wasn't perfect by any means but definitely better," said Wyman. "I got a good start and felt good for a couple of laps but then your legs catch up with you again...it's just how it is."
For the remaining laps it was another dress rehearsal for Compton's world championship aspirations in February as the Trek Cyclocross Collective rider extended her lead second by second through every technical section, particularly the long sand pit in which she had no peer. Compton consistently rode the complete sector lap after lap with vigor, while virtually all other riders had to run the section.
"The only problem for us was that a lot of the girls couldn't ride it so they put lots of footprints in, not lines," said Wyman. "So every lap you come in and have to start a new line. I think in the world championships if it's still sand and not frozen I think there'll be proper lines and it will be accessibly rideable, not just drag on through it. I had to run twice through it, but the other four laps I managed to ride it."
Ultimately Compton's advantage over Nash, Gould and Wyman was even greater than the previous day as she continued her unbeaten streak on US soil.
"I just really wanted to push hard and get a really good effort in today and feel how I was going to do at Worlds," said Compton. "I wanted to know how it feels at the end."
No, you weren't imagining things. Georgia Gould indeed rode the second lap while clutching a rubber chicken she picked up from a bystander. Gould rode on the brake hoods with the chicken held in place on the brake lever beneath her left hand.
"This guy said 'Five bucks if you take it for a hot lap and 20 bucks if you take it the whole race!' then I saw it when I was out there and I thought I've got to try it. It wasn't too bad riding with it. I was like 'All right, I'll try to go a whole lap' and then I did it and was going to give it back to him...do the chicken hand-down instead of hand-up.
And then when I came back around he had another one so I grabbed the other one, but then that was right before the long sand pit and I can't even ride that with both hands on the bars and no chickens so I got rid of both of them. But I did have two chickens for a short period!"
|1||Katie Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective||0:40:30|
|2||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||0:01:04|
|3||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:01:28|
|4||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Team||0:01:50|
|5||Gabriella Day (GBr) Rapha-Focus||0:02:16|
|6||Caroline Mani (Fra) Raleigh-Clement||0:02:34|
|7||Julie Krasniak (Fra) Rapha-Focus||0:02:41|
|8||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:02:44|
|9||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:02:49|
|10||Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:02:59|
|11||Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus Cycling Club||0:03:03|
|12||Amanda Carey (USA) Volkswagen Boise Cycling||0:03:20|
|13||Carmen Small (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:03:40|
|14||Mical Dyck (Can) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team||0:03:49|
|15||Crystal Anthony (USA) Cyclocrossworld.com||0:04:00|
|16||Courtenay McFadden (USA) Clif Bar//Bicycle Centres/Voler||0:04:05|
|17||Emily Batty (Can)||0:04:08|
|18||Arley Kemmerer (USA) C3-Athletes Serving Athletes||0:04:11|
|19||Maghalie Rochette (Can) PowerWatts - Fit Time||0:04:14|
|20||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycles||0:04:19|
|21||Abby Strigel (USA) Team Abyssa||0:04:57|
|22||Andrea Smith (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||0:05:15|
|23||Amanda Miller (USA) Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:05:30|
|24||Frances Morrison (USA) J.A.M. Fund/NCC||0:05:48|
|25||Katie Arnold (USA) Bob's Red Mill||0:05:58|
|26||Brittlee Bowman (USA) pedalpowertraining.com||0:06:04|
|27||Rebecca Gross (USA) KCCX||0:06:08|
|28||Katherine Shields (USA) Mock Orange Bikes||0:06:09|
|29||Linda Sone (USA) Crossniacs p/b Wesley Cycles||0:06:21|
|30||Ashley James (USA) KCCX-Fuji||0:06:29|
|31||Christina Birch (USA) JAM/NCC/Vittoria||0:06:34|
|32||Rebecca Much (USA) The Service Course | World Bicycle Relief||0:07:11|
|33||Emily Shields (USA) Mock Orange Bikes||-2laps|
|34||Allison Arensman (USA) Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech p/b ABRC|
|35||Amber Markey (USA) My Wife, Inc|
|36||Jeanne Fleck (USA) Velo Duluth - Twin Ports Cycler|
|37||Erin Silliman (USA) Corsa Concepts Cyclocross Team|
|38||Sierra Siebenlist (USA) Matthews Bicycles|
|39||Shannon Gibson (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross Team|
|40||Jessica Owings (USA) MOAB Cyclocross|
|41||Robin Williams (USA) Mercy-Specialized|
|42||Bridget Donovan (USA) Biowheels|
|43||Karen Brocket (USA) Ethos Racing|
|44||Meghan Korol (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross|
|45||Cooper Ambjorn (USA) Tean CNC|
|DNF||Rebecca Blatt (USA) Van Dessel|
|DNF||Corrie Osborne (USA) Team Extreme|
|DNF||Cinthia Lehner (USA) Pepper Palace/Spin-Tech p/b ABR|
|DNS||Meredith Miller (USA) Cal Giant Berry Farms/Specialized|
|DNS||Nicole Duke (USA) Raleigh-Clement|
|DNS||Marne Smiley (USA) Bob's Red Mill Racing|
|DNS||Ellen Noble (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective|
|DNS||Nicole Borem (USA) Don Walker Cycles Racing|
|DNS||Kimberly Thomas (USA) Fusion/LiveStrong|