Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) won her fourth consecutive victory this cyclo-cross season at the Exergy Cyclo-cross US Gran Prix (USGP) Planet Bike Cup Day 1 held in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. The Czech National Champion opened a near 30-second lead ahead of her teammate and former series winner Georgia Gould in second and Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized) in third.
"It was a fast start today and I got a little gap on the group, they stayed together, and I was riding by myself," Nash told Cyclingnews. "Close to the end of the race my teammate Georgia put in a good attack and split up the group and finished second. It was an awesome day for Luna."
Nash's win earned her the early lead in the USGP series and she will wear the overall leader's jersey during round two of the Planet Bike Cup held on Sunday.
"I'm not doing a full World-Cup season, just a few races," Nash said. "The USGP series is the only full series that I am competing in so it is important to me to do well. I think it is a good goal to do well at all the races and that will set me up really well for the overall. I will be at all the weekends of USGP races."
Mountain bikers Forsman and Batty have strong late-race showing
The Elite women's race contested 45 minutes of a technical and challenging cyclo-cross course. The circuit started on the pavement and turned onto the grass. The main challenge of the day were the twist and turns, barriers and the dirt run up located at the end of the circuit.
Nicole Duke (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) took the whole shot but was quickly passed by Sue Butler (River City Bicycles-Ridley) during the first half of the opening lap. Duke took back the race lead heading into the technical twist and turns followed by Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team).
"I was nervous going into the race, being on a new team, and wanting to perform well," Duke told Cyclingnews. "As soon as I rode the course I felt good and I felt confident. I knew that I had a shot at the whole shot and I had that in my mind at the start. It went really well for me and I got it. I wanted to sit up a bit and get behind someone but I felt strong and stayed up there with Katerina for a while."
Duke led the race over two technically positioned logs at the base of the circuit's decisive run up. Nash hung on tight to her wheel followed by Caroline Mani (SRAM) and Pepper Harlton (Juventus Cycling Club).
A chase group followed that included Nash's teammate Georgia Gould, Teal Stetson-Lee and Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized), Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek), Ashley James (KCCX Elite), Mo Bruno Roy (Bob's Red Mill) and Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), among others. Nash opened up roughly 10 seconds ahead of her competitors during the first half of the second lap. She opened up that lead to roughly 20 seconds over the climb and into the start of the third lap.
Mani did much of the pace setting in the small chase group behind. The group jostled for position behind her and Duke including Miller, Gould, Harlton and Chloe Forsman. Miller took her chances part way through the fourth lap and attacked her chase group companions in an attempt to bridge across to race leader, Nash. Her efforts were short-lived.
Nash stretched her advantage over the climb and headed into two laps to go. Behind, Butler was forced off her bike after a crash, simultaneously Gould made her move over the climb and opened a gap ahead of Miller.
"I worked with Carline Mani for most of that part of the race," Duke said. I felt like I was at the front a lot and that was because I wanted to be the first through the corners. Georgia and Meredith caught us and moved to the front. Unfortunately Sue Butler had a couple of crashes and that opened up a gap for Meredith and Georgia and we lost them at the end of the race."
Gould and Miller rode roughly five seconds apart ahead of Mani and Duke. Slightly further back, Harlton, Batty and Forsman formed the next chase group of three. Forsman and Batty used their strong mountain bike skills over the slightly damp terrain to work their way back into the first chase group with Duke and Mani.
"It was a fun race and very dynamic, felt like a road race," Duke said. "I'm happy with my performance because it is early season and I tend to speed up as the season goes on. For me to be right here, right now, and hanging onto the girls I was with today, I am happy."
Nash showed her confidence on the final climb offering high-five handshakes at the top before jumping back on her bike to ride the run in to the finish line for the win. Gould held strong in second place ahead of Miller in third. Forsman sprinted ahead of her small chase group to take fourth ahead of Mani in fifth and Duke in sixth.
"There were a few guys heckling us before the race started and during the race," Nash said. "I felt like they were cheering really loud and great support so I had some time to say thanks and give them high-five at the end of the race."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katerina Nash (USA) Luna Pro Team||0:40:34|
|2||Georgia Gould (USA)||0:00:17|
|3||Meredith Miller (USA) California Giant Cycling||0:00:28|
|4||Chloe Forsman (USA) Race Club 11|
|5||Caroline Mani (Fra)|
|6||Nicole Duke (USA) Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com||0:00:37|
|7||Emily Batty (Can) Subaru-Trek||0:00:50|
|8||Sue Butler (USA) River City/Ridley|
|9||Teal Stetson-Lee (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized||0:01:14|
|10||Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus Cycling Club|
|11||Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com||0:01:48|
|12||Maureen Bruno Roy (USA) Bob's Red Mill pb Seven Cycles||0:01:54|
|13||Katherine Sherwin (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross|
|14||Kelsy Bingham (USA)||0:02:20|
|15||Meghan Korol (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross|
|16||Annajean Dallaire (USA) Racin' for Riley p/b Alderfer Bergen||0:02:21|
|17||Linda Sone (USA) cycle-smart.com/flanders|
|18||Jenni Gaertner (USA) Raleigh America||0:03:15|
|19||Ashley James (USA) KCCX Elite||0:03:31|
|20||Katy Curtis (Can)||0:03:37|
|21||Marne Smiley (USA) Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross||0:03:59|
|22||Sarah Huang (USA) IS Corp||0:04:08|
|23||Sunny Gilbert (USA)||0:04:19|
|24||Jeanne Fleck (USA) VELO Duluth - Twin Ports Cyclery||0:04:42|
|25||Shannon Gibson (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross||0:04:53|
|26||Brittany Mcconnell (USA) mercy specialized||0:05:12|
|27||Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) Team Plan C p/b Stevens||0:05:18|
|28||Alyssa Severn (USA) cyclocrossracing.com||0:05:29|
|29||Allison Beall (USA) Team Rep||0:05:45|
|30||Corrie Osborne (USA) ISCorp||0:06:43|
|DNF||Kelly Benjamin (USA) KCCX/ Verge Elite Cyclocross Team|
|DNF||Pam Hinton (USA) Dogfish Racing|
|DNS||Kimberly Flynn (USA) USSC-Trek p/b Vantaggio|
|DNS||Kari Studley (USA) Team Redline|
|DNS||Kim Thomas (USA) Fusion IT|