Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) made her cyclo-cross World Cup debut during the fifth round in Namur, Belgium on Sunday afternoon. The US-based Czech rider immediately managed a strong second place finish at short distance behind the seemingly unbeatable World Cup leader Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective).
"You hope for great things ahead of a race but achieving them is different. It's a challenging course, so I wanted to ride a clean race," Nash told Cyclingnews.
The late cyclo-cross World Cup presence from Nash comes after a good but busy mountain bike season which concluded with her participation at the London Olympics in August. In the cross country event, Nash had high expectations after some good World Cup performances but she finished on a disappointing 14th place.
"I took a good break after the mountain bike season. I also had health issues: back problems. First, I just wanted to get healthy. I really needed a break and put in some miles. Now, it's the first time I am doing the Christmas series here in Belgium. I am staying near Antwerp, it seemed like the most central location," Nash said.
Next month, the cyclo-cross world championships will be held in Louisville, Kentucky. It'll be the first time the world championships are held outside the European continent. Despite being of Czech nationality, Nash is an almost adopted American citizen, living in Truckee, California.
"I got my cyclo-cross start in the USA. I raced in Louisville many times. I do have a lot of fans in the USA," she said.
On Wednesday, Nash will take part in the sixth World Cup round of the season in Zolder, Belgium.