Katerina Nash (Team Luna) captured a solo victory in front of home-town sponsors at the Derby City Cup, round three of the US Grand Prix of Cyclo-Cross held in Louisville, Kentucky. She broke away on the first lap and left her teammate Georgia Gould chasing in second place. Under-23 US National Champion, Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs) muscled her way back into third place from a crash in the opening lap.
"I'd say that I am more serious about cyclo-cross this year and that is what has made the difference," said Nash. "I made it clear this year that I want to make it all the way up to the World Championships this year so I sacrificed some of my mountain bike season to really focus on cross."
Nash's win bumped her up into the USGP series leader's jersey ahead of Katie Compton (Planet Bike) who is currently competing in Europe. She is hoping to maintain her top ranking through the next two series' weekends and then take her fitness into the International Cycling Union's World Cyclo-Cross Championships held in Nash's native Czech Republic in January.
"It's a race and you always have a lot of competitors but today there was no one in front of me," said Nash in regards the absence of Compton. "I always try to do a hard race. I don't have that mentality to take it easy here and there. I always try to do my best at every race. Of course the race is a little different, I ended up having a good gap so I could ride smooth and probably didn't make mistakes you some times make at the end of the race if you are under pressure.
Dombroski breaks Luna sweep
As expected there was a well attended field present at the Derby City Cup for the third round of the USGP series. Front row call ups included Team Luna teammates Nash, Gould and the legendary American mountain biker Alison Dunlap along with the equally legendary Canadian competitor Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Maxxis), Sue Butler (Monavie-Cannondale) and Amy Dombroski.
The current US National Road Champion, Meredith Miller has taken a break from skinny tires and whipped out her cyclo-cross bike for some off-season training. "It was cool to ride with former World Champions, World-Cup winners stuff like that," said Miller, who took on her first cyclo-cross weekend of the season in Cincinnati two weeks ago. "It was really hard. It was all power kind of course and one of those courses where you pedal as hard as you can but you feel like you are going nowhere. It required a lot of power. If you didn't have it in your legs you weren't going to do well."
Nash took the lead over the green monster, a stair step obstacle located a few hundred meters from the finish line. Rounding lap two, Nash built her lead of a healthy 20 seconds ahead of her teammates Georgia Gould and Alison Dunlap. She proved to have flawless technique over the circuit's tacky mud straightaways, sand pit, mud ditches and barriers.
"Every time there are muddy sections you have to pick a good line and I picked a good line," Nash said. "I got a gap and was able to keep it so I'm happy."
Nash and Gould increased their leading positions mid-race. Both Sydor and Dunlap began to lose ground as riders Dombroski and Miller picked up their speed after slower starts. Dombroski continued to build speed catching Sydor first and Dunlap next. She opened her lead on Dunlap to 15 seconds but the distance to Gould was not attainable by the finish line.
"I had a great start sitting on Katerina, Georgia and Alison but through that muddy section something took my front tire and I went down quickly and fast," said Dombroski who received the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award. "I didn't ride that section in the warm up because I didn't want to get muddy. So I guess I should have. When you go down panic comes in and adrenaline comes up and you think oh my god I have to get back on my bike real fast. But it's more about staying calm and relaxing so that you can get the legs going again."
Miller also caught and passed Sydor, and continued to close in on Dunlap, connecting with the back of her wheel with two laps to go. "When I was catching Sydor it looked like she was suffering. I'm sure she has better technical skills, but I was making up my time on the grassy long straight-aways. I didn't want to be the one following someone around. I just wanted to pass and ride hard and see if they could stay with me."
Nash rode in with a commanding lead, arms raised in a victory salute followed by her teammate Gould in second place. Dombroski continued to build time on her chasers, crossing the line in third place. Dunlap used her years of experience and technical skills to regain a slim lead ahead of Miller through the final three corners and rode in for fourth place.
"Katerina was riding super strong and she kind didn't really attack as much as just ride away," Gould said. "I didn't want to chase her down and try to go with her and drag other people up there. But, there was no way I was going with her anyway so I just tried to ride strong and keep the game as small as I could but she was super strong today and I'm really happy for her. Hopefully she will win worlds."
|1||Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team)|
|2||Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)|
|3||Amy Dombroski (Richard Sachs-Rgm Watches-Radix)|
|4||Alison Dunlap (Luna Pro Team)|
|5||Meredith Miller (Team Tibco)|
|7||Kristin Wentworth (Planet Bike)|
|8||Susan Butler (Monavie-Cannondale.Com)|
|9||Kari Studley (Velo Bella)|
|10||Kaitlin Antonneau (Planet Bike)|
|11||Kimberly Flynn (Vantaggio/Specialized)|
|12||Devon Haskell (Bh Usa)|
|13||Annajean Dallaire (Cannondale Factory Racing)|
|14||Wendy Williams (Hudz/Subaru)|
|15||Nicole Borem (Drt Consulting)|
|16||Elizabeth Frye (Boone Velo)|
|17||Robin Williams (Mercy-Specialized)|
|18||Anne Schwartz (Flying Rhino Cycling Club)|
|19||Corey Coogan (Ridley Factory Team)|
|20||Ashley James (Team Kenda)|
|21||Marne Smiley (Scott Bikes)|
|22||Lauri Webber (Secret Henry's Team)|
|23||Dayna Deuter (Church Of The Big Ring)|
|24||Therese Meek (Bikeclicks/Team Louisville)|
|25||Sarah Lukas (Gear Grinder - Hyundai)|
|26||Whitney Kroll (Cane Creek)|