After sealing her second successive Cyclo-cross World Cup title in Rome on Sunday, Katie Compton (Trek Cyclo-cross Collective) will now turn her attentions to next month’s world championships in Hoogerheide.
Compton was impressive in fending off the challenge of Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) in Rome, but she is keenly aware that the defending champion will be the woman to beat in front of the enthusiastic Dutch fans on February 1.
A hugely consistent performer in recent seasons, the 35-year-old Compton has suffered her share of heartache at the Worlds, claiming three silver medals (2007, 2011 and 2013) and bronze (2009), but no rainbow jersey.
“I’d love to win at the Worlds, that’s always high on the priority list,” Compton said in Rome on Sunday. “I haven’t had that perfect day yet but hopefully I will. I don’t know. I’m going to prepare as best I can for it, come in feeling strong and hope for the best.”
For her part, Vos has won the past five cyclo-cross world championships (she has six in total), and the world champion is building her form after her road commitments truncated her cyclo-cross campaign.
On Sunday, however, Vos was unable to match Compton in spite of a surprise attack on the final lap. Compton dealt well with the Dutchwoman’s acceleration and then pulled away over the closing stages to win by 24 seconds. It was Compton’s fifth straight win in this year’s World Cup, and her third successive win over Vos.
“She [Vos] was riding really well on the switchbacks and accelerating well. I knew I was strong in the mud and I tried to push on there, but it was so hard in the power section with the headwind, so I didn’t want to do too much work there,” Compton said. “It was hard and I’m really happy with the way I rode, being so smooth and being able to attack at the end.”
Compton’s solo triumph means that she has shored up the final overall classification of the World Cup with a round to spare. The American has accumulated 350 points, and holds an insurmountable lead of 101 points over second-placed Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) ahead of the final round of the World Cup in Nommay on January 26.
“This is great. It feels really good, especially winning here because I haven’t won here before, and it’s just always nice when you have good legs,” said Compton of her victory in Rome, admitting that she was surprised to find conditions on the Italian course just as treacherous as they have been in northern Europe in recent weeks. “It was hard with the mud today. I wasn’t expecting that in Italy.”