Sanne Cant came out on top at the Flandriencross in Hamme on Sunday but not without a challenge from Americans Ellen Noble (Aspire Racing) and Katie Compton (Trek), who led for much of the race before finishing second and third respectively.
Compton's performance bumped her up into the overall lead of the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee series.
"It's the first time I'm on top of this general classification. I used to miss several races because I was in the States," said Compton, who has recovered from being sick and returned to racing at the World Cup in Zeven on Saturday where she placed third.
"After my illness a few weeks ago, I am back in better shape. This is a nice course but I was still tired from yesterday."
The two Americans took the early lead in the women's short 39:09-minute race and excelled on the technically difficult and muddy course.
"It's my first podium in a European 'cross race," Noble said. "It's fun to ride in the front, but quite unnerving. I had to be careful not to get carried away in my enthusiasm, the fans here are great."
Cant, who had a slower start, says she was blinded by the sun throughout the first laps and found it hard to see the ruts or choose proper lines.
The world champion soon found her rhythm but it took until the final lap for Cant to completely close the 15-second deficit and then move ahead to take the win in what she called an "all or nothing" effort. She finished six seconds ahead of Noble, who raced across the line for second place ahead of Compton in third.
Compton is racing a full European schedule for the first time this season and her results have started to improve. In the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee series, she won the opener in Ronse and then took second in the Oudenaarde round.
She struggled at the beginning of her World Cup campaign but seemed to have found her footing in Koksijde with a fifth place. Sickness prevented her from starting the fourth round of the series in Bogense but she bounced back to place third in Zeven on Saturday.
Following her third place in Hamme, Compton leads the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee series with 3:02:42. She is 2:38 ahead of Helen Wyman (Kona) and 3:48 ahead of Nikki Brammeier (Boels-Dolmans).
DVV Verzekeringen Trofee series - Brief Results
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Katherine Compton (USA) Trek||2:03:40|
|2||Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Team||0:02:38|
|3||Nikki Brammeier (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:03:48|
|4||Maud Kaptheijns (Ned) Crelan-Charles||0:04:29|
|5||Ellen Van Loy (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions||0:05:01|
|6||Jolien Verschueren (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen - Vastgoedservice||0:08:07|
|7||Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Steylaerts - Betfirst||0:08:39|
|8||Kim Van De Steene (Bel) Tarteletto - Isorex||0:08:41|
|9||Geert Hoeke (Ned)||0:08:47|
|10||Sanne Cant (Bel) Beobank-Corendon||0:10:18|