Katerina Nash kept her Oregon winning streak alive Saturday during the first day of the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross Deschutes Brewery Cup in Bend, soloing away from teammate Georgia Gould after the Luna Pro Team riders distanced themselves from the rest of the field.
Nash won both races during last year's inaugural USGP appearance in Bend and showed no signs Saturday of letting anyone else claim the podium's top step.
“I've always done really well here in Oregon,” Nash said. “I did really well back in Portland when the race would go there. I don't know what it is about Oregon, but I've had good luck here.”
Part of Nash's “luck” can be traced back to Gould, who took the holeshot off the starting straight and continued to pound out a frenetic pace that only Nash and Nicole Duke (Alchemy) could follow. Duke lost contact with the Luna leaders during the first circuit and wallowed in no-man's land, chased by Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement), Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld), Meredith Miller, (Cal Giant-Specialized) and Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna).
Mani surged away from the larger chase group and set out in pursuit of Duke, catching her about halfway through the second lap and dropping her another half lap later. Duke faded back to Antonneau, who had built a small lead on the rest of the chasers.
At the halfway point of the 40-minute race, Gould and Nash had built a 15-second lead on Mani, who had another 20 seconds on Duke and Antonneau. The fourth chase group now included Crystal Anthony (Cyclocrossworld), Stetson-Lee, Meredith Miller, Mical Dyck (Stand No Tubes), Amanda Miller (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Pepper Harlton (Juventus Cycling).
Although the Luna duo in the lead was working well together and continuing to add to the advantage, Nash got impatient and, with two laps remaining, attacked Gould, who stayed close but couldn't quite pull her teammate back.
“Every time I rode behind Georgia I made a mistake,” Nash said. “So finally I went around and picked up the pace a little bit. I hoped to drop Georgia, but she's a very strong racer, and she stayed behind super close until the end.”
Mani continued to press on alone in third, losing more and more time to the riders in front of her but doing a good job of holding off the chasing group behind. It made for a long day for the French rider, who had never before hit the podium at a USGP race, but she stuck it out despite a momentary lapse in confidence.
“I felt really lonely today,” Mani said of her long solo chasing effort. “I don't know how many laps we had, but when I saw three laps [to go], I thought oh my gosh, I'm going to die.”
With Nash leading and looking strong, followed by an equally powerful-looking Gould and then Mani, the podium appeared to be set with two laps left, barring any major mishaps. Nash had five seconds over her teammate and 30 seconds over Mani. Behind the top three, Antonneau and Duke had fallen 52 seconds in arrears. That's when Antonneau opened things up and Duke began to fade.
As they took the bell for the final lap with Nash, Gould and Mani claiming the top-three spots, Antonneau held a 20-second lead over Amanda Miller. Stetson-Lee, Duke, Meredith Miller and Dyck formed the next chase group on the course. Nash eventually took the win with a 13-second gap over Gould. Mani came in 1:02 down on Nash, while Antonneau came in 1:35 after the leader. Amanda Miller rounded out the top five, finishing 1:39 off the lead pace.
Gould, who can win the overall series by finishing at least third on Sunday, kidded her teammate after the race for going early and not “waiting” for her, but was nonetheless happy with her runner-up spot.
“We both made some mistakes here and there,” Gould said. “Eventually there was a gap that Katerina opened up, and I wasn't able to close it down. It was a good race there for a little bit. I don't know what happened, I've already blocked it though.”
There's no doubt Gould would like to switch podium spots with her teammate on Sunday, but Nash will have the last word on that.
“I'm sure I'm gonna pay for this one tomorrow,” Nash joked after the race. “I'm gonna go for it, but we'll have to wait and see how it turns out.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Pro Team||0:46:17|
|2||Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:00:13|
|3||Caroline Mani (Fra) Raleigh Clement||0:01:02|
|4||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld||0:01:35|
|5||Amanda Miller (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:01:39|
|6||Elle Anderson (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||0:01:47|
|7||Mical Dyck (Can) Stan's NoTubes||0:01:49|
|8||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) Luna Pro Team|
|9||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant Berry Farms||0:01:57|
|10||Nicole Duke (USA) Alchemy||0:02:01|
|11||Julie Krasniak (Fra) Rapha-Focus||0:02:13|
|12||Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus Cycling Club||0:02:15|
|13||Amanda Carey (USA) Volkswagen Boise||0:02:16|
|14||Crystal Anthony (USA) CYCLOCROSSWORLD.COM||0:02:25|
|15||Jade Wilcoxson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:02:28|
|16||Wendy Simms (Can) KONA||0:02:35|
|17||Serena Gordon (USA) Silverado p/b Sunnyside Sports||0:03:34|
|18||Courtenay McFadden (USA) Peterson Racing p/b Spokesowomen||0:03:42|
|19||Andrea Smith (USA) LadiesFirst Racing||0:03:49|
|20||Rebecca Blatt (USA) Van Dessel||0:03:55|
|21||Alice Pennington (USA) Kona||0:03:59|
|22||Jenni Gaertner (USA) Motofish Racing||0:04:47|
|23||Jayne Mclaughlin (GBr) Zuster Cycling||0:05:26|
|24||Jessica Cutler (USA) Cyclocrossracing.com p/b Blue C||0:05:31|
|25||Beth Ann Orton (USA) Team S&M||0:05:35|
|26||Evelyn Dong (USA) White Pine Touring||0:06:13|
|27||Tina Brubaker (USA) Speedvagen Racing Machines||0:06:41|
|28||Joele Guynup (USA) Condo Group||0:06:51|
|29||Katie J Melena (USA) Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobst||0:07:44|
|30||Natalie Koncz (USA) Zuster Cycling||0:07:51|
|31 (-2 laps)||Shannon Gibson (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross|
|32||Shantel Koenig (Can) redbike|
|33||Jana Repulski (USA) Broken Spoke Cycling|
|34||Alexandra Burton (USA) Upper Echelon Fitness|
|35||Sara Fletcher (USA) West Coast Women's Cycling p/b|
|DNF||Ellen Sherrill (USA) Bicycle Bluebook/HRS/Rock Lobst|
|DNS||Carmen McNellis Small (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNS||Gabriella Day (GBr) Rapha-Focus|