Compton outlasts Gould to defend US elite women's cyclo-cross title

Katie Compton (Trek) won her 12th consecutive US national cyclo-cross title Sunday in Asheville, North Carolina, after duelling with Luna's Georgia Gould for most of the race. Compton eventually distanced Gould on the final lap and then held her off for the win. Kaitlin Antonneau ( finished third.

Compton, who has been far less than her best since last year's World Championships, only finding solid form in December, said it was her hardest and most emotional of her 12 title bouts considering the health issues she battled this summer. "It was super hard, and it was really fun. Georgia was riding really strong and descending well. It was a fun race."

The pair established themselves as the clear leaders on the first lap, and kept on building their advantage on Antonneau, Elle Anderson, who finished fourth, and Rachel Lloyd (California Giant), who was fifth. Only Antonneau threatened, coming within 15 seconds on the third lap. There was no time for cat and mouse, and Compton and Gould knew they had to keep going hard to keep Antonneau from catching up.

"We were both exchanging pulls," Compton said. "There were sections where she was faster and some where I was. I tried to recover when she was in the lead."

Gould and Compton stayed neck and neck through to the tense finale, where Compton began scheming where she would attack, and how she could get the better of Gould. "I was going to attack the top of the hill just before the descent to the finish. I was a little faster there, and I could feel it. With the power section to the finish, I could use my weight and power for the finish. That was the game plan. I was keeping that in mind and she bobbled, and I thought , 'well that took care of it' and just went. I kept the pace up until the finish."

Gould knew that it was a critical error, coming with less than a half lap to go. "I made a mistake on the downhill in the woods, and it was just enough to make a gap and she pinned it. I tried to close it back down, but she was a little stronger for that last lap," Gould said. "There were places - I was running faster than she was, but they weren't quite long enough for me to make contact again."

Antonneau's chase ran out of steam, and she fought to third, 34 seconds behind Compton, but only 12 behind Gould. Although disappointed that she wasn't in contention for the win, Antonneau said she was happy to be on the podium with two accomplished riders.

"My first lap was not as good as I wanted, especially the start. I wanted to keep contact and I didn't really do that," Antonneau told Cyclingnews. "That was kind of a bummer. The rest of the time I was just chasing Katie and Georgia. On certain parts of the course I'd get closer and on other parts they'd pull away. I was yo-yo'ing like that. Going into the last lap Georgia made a mistake so I got closer to her, but I was pretty much by myself the whole time. I'm happy with it."

Gould hasn't raced a full 'cross season, only stepping in for a few races in Colorado before taking on the national championships, so she wasn't top on most people's radar, but explained that the Olympic Games in Rio in mountain bike is her focus.

"You can't do both year round and be 100 per cent in both. I wanted to take a lighter race and travel schedule, and didn't want to come into the season tired. I've just had some time to train. I was hoping that freshness would be on my side. On the downside you don't have much racing in your legs, so it was a roll of the dice.

"It was an exciting race, the crowd was awesome, and it was really fun to be out there racing."

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Katherine Compton (USA) Trek Factory Racing0:46:56
2Georgia Gould (USA) LUNA Pro Team0:47:18
3Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Cannondale Cyclocrossworld0:47:30
4Elle Anderson (USA) SRAM/Strava0:48:25
5Rachel Lloyd (USA) California Giant Berry Farms/Sp0:49:02
6Rebecca Fahringer (USA) Amy D. Foundation0:49:38
7Amanda Nauman (USA) SDG - Muscle Monster0:49:58
8Meredith Miller (USA) Noosa Pro Cyclocross0:50:13
9Amanda Miller (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo0:50:20
10Cassandra Maximenko (USA) Van Dessel Factory Team0:50:24
11Jena Greaser (USA) JAM Fund0:50:34
12Courtenay Mcfadden (USA) American Classic/Zones0:51:05
13Sunny Gilbert (USA) Michelob Ultra - Big Shark Raci0:51:27
14Caitlyn Vestal (USA) Feedback Sports Racing0:51:28
15Crystal Anthony (USA) Boulder Cycle Sport/ YogaGlo0:51:49
16Arley Kemmerer (USA) Level Eleven Racing pb PB20:52:25
17Erica Zaveta (USA) Maxxis-Shimano0:52:44
18Kathryn Cumming (USA) Cyclocross Magazine Racing Team0:52:54
19Nicole Mertz (USA) ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice0:52:59
20Rebecca Gross (USA)0:53:04
21Ally Stacher (USA) Stan's NoTubes Elite CX0:53:05
22Emily Kachorek (USA) Squid Bikes0:53:28
23BrittLee Bowman (USA) HOUSE INDUSTRIES - WITHINGS - S0:53:39
24Julie Wright (USA) Team Averica0:54:04
25Laura Winberry (USA) Speedvagen Family Racing0:54:17
26Katherine Northcott (USA)0:54:22
27Rachel Rubino (USA) Level Eleven Racing pb PB20:54:28
28Rebecca Blatt (USA) Van Dessel Factory TeamRow 27 - Cell 2
29Danielle Arman (USA) Tenspeed Hero0:54:47
30Jennifer Malik (USA) Granville Brewing - Stanridge C0:55:11
31Samantha Runnels (USA) Team Super Awesome0:55:33
32Kenda Super (USA) Hagens Berman-Society Consultin0:55:44
33Katherine Shields (USA) Ken's Bike Shop0:55:58
34Meghan Korol (USA) Team Handmade0:56:00
35Cari Higgins (USA) Maxxis-Shimano0:56:26
36Emily Shields (USA) Ken's Bike Shop-1
37Erin Faccone (USA) Team AvericaRow 36 - Cell 2
38Heidi Wood (USA) 333fab CX Factory Team-2
39Natalie Tapias (USA) ThisTeamSavesLivesRow 38 - Cell 2
DNFJessica Cutler (USA) Jamis Pro CyclocrossRow 39 - Cell 2
DNFCarol Seipp (USA) Foundry CyclesRow 40 - Cell 2
DNFCarla Williams (USA) Joes Bike Shop Racing TeamRow 41 - Cell 2

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