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Nash nips Compton in slapstick cyclo-cross

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Katerina Nash (Luna) powers to the USGP win on the first day in Fort Collins, out-sprinting Katie Compton (Planet Bike)

Katerina Nash (Luna) powers to the USGP win on the first day in Fort Collins, out-sprinting Katie Compton (Planet Bike) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nash missed her bike change and had to go on with her dirty one.

Nash missed her bike change and had to go on with her dirty one. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Compton gets a bike from her pit crew/husband Mark Legg.

Compton gets a bike from her pit crew/husband Mark Legg. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Amanda Miller (Subaru Hudz)

Amanda Miller (Subaru Hudz) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Compton heads in for a bike change.

Compton heads in for a bike change. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nash leads Compton into the final lap.

Nash leads Compton into the final lap. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Meredith Miller tries to make up ground after her first-lap mishap

Meredith Miller tries to make up ground after her first-lap mishap (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Most aggressive rider Amanda Miller (Subaru-Hudz)

Most aggressive rider Amanda Miller (Subaru-Hudz) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nash chases Compton up the muddy hill.

Nash chases Compton up the muddy hill. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katerina Nash (Luna) rides the muck

Katerina Nash (Luna) rides the muck (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Alice Pennington had a great race.

Alice Pennington had a great race. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Melanie Long

Melanie Long (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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(Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Fresh snow came but would mostly melt by the day's end.

Fresh snow came but would mostly melt by the day's end. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Tracks in the snow in Fort Collins

Tracks in the snow in Fort Collins (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The top women at the number presentation

The top women at the number presentation (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The California Giant Berry-Specialized riders Teal Stetson-Lee and Meredith Miller

The California Giant Berry-Specialized riders Teal Stetson-Lee and Meredith Miller (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The Neenan fly-over was a prime feature of the Fort Collins course.

The Neenan fly-over was a prime feature of the Fort Collins course. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Amy Dombroski at the sign in

Amy Dombroski at the sign in (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Georgia Gould salutes the hometown crowd

Georgia Gould salutes the hometown crowd (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katerina Nash throws her bike to win the USGP New Belgium Cup

Katerina Nash throws her bike to win the USGP New Belgium Cup (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katie Compton (Planet Bike) claimed the lead on the second lap

Katie Compton (Planet Bike) claimed the lead on the second lap (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Amanda Carey leads a chase group.

Amanda Carey leads a chase group. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Maureen Bruno Roy (Seven Cycles)

Maureen Bruno Roy (Seven Cycles) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Teal Stetson-Lee (Cal Giant Berry-Specialized)

Teal Stetson-Lee (Cal Giant Berry-Specialized) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Maureen Bruno-Roy (Seven Cycles) on the run-up

Maureen Bruno-Roy (Seven Cycles) on the run-up (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Amy Dombroski focuses

Amy Dombroski focuses (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Georgia Gould on the Neenan Fly-over

Georgia Gould on the Neenan Fly-over (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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The aftermath of the first-turn crash.

The aftermath of the first-turn crash. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katherine Sherwin hit the deck on the first turn

Katherine Sherwin hit the deck on the first turn (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Georgia Gould and Meredith Miller before the start

Georgia Gould and Meredith Miller before the start (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Maureen Bruno-Roy

Maureen Bruno-Roy (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Georgia Gould took the lead on the first lap

Georgia Gould took the lead on the first lap (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Kaitlin Antonneau

Kaitlin Antonneau (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Gould powers through the mud, pursued by Compton and Nash

Gould powers through the mud, pursued by Compton and Nash (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katy Curtis

Katy Curtis (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Amy Dombroski heads over the barriers.

Amy Dombroski heads over the barriers. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Gould chases in third.

Gould chases in third. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Nash balances through a greasy turn.

Nash balances through a greasy turn. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Compton takes on an off-camber downhill turn

Compton takes on an off-camber downhill turn (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Gould and Nash lead into the first turn.

Gould and Nash lead into the first turn. (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Gould powers to the hole shot on day one

Gould powers to the hole shot on day one (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katerina Nash (Luna)

Katerina Nash (Luna) (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)
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Katie Compton

Katie Compton (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

A course dotted with snow and melting into thick pudding-like mud turned the elite women's USGP in Fort Collins into a gruelling test of power and finesse. Luna's Katerina Nash proved to be the best at both, getting the better of US champion Katie Compton. Nash's teammate Georgia Gould took third to maintain the series lead.

"It feels great," said Nash, whose last domestic race was in September when she won CrossVegas in much different conditions. "I'm really happy to be back at the USGP and to win out here is really great."

Coming off the back of two World Cup podiums, Nash was a strong competitor for the two Colorado natives, Compton and local favourite Goud. While the battle between Nash and Compton came down to a sprint for the line, but the real fight was against the course and the many mistakes that plagued the top riders throughout the race.

Nash claimed the hole shot ahead of Gould and Compton as a crash in the starting chute took down the number one starter Laura Van Gilder, and the Czech champion led the race for the first lap.

"I had a good start, which is why I was up front," Nash said. "I think Katie didn't start as well as me and Georgia, so it made it look like we went out hard. But I felt comfortable on the down hills so I wanted to be up front and make up time."

After letting Nash take the helm for a lap, Compton put in a signature move, powering up a long hill on the back side of the course to open up a few seconds on the Luna pair, but could never build up a commanding enough lead to be comfortable.

"It was hard, the course was really tough. The mud was changing constantly, so one lap a line was good then it was bad the next lap. I kept wanting to go faster, but then I'd slide out, so I tried to settle down and relax," Compton said.

Compton continued to power along as Nash, in hot pursuit, distanced her teammate Gould. The Czech rider had closed to a handful of seconds of Compton when, with two laps to go, a critical mistake in the pits cost Compton the rest of her lead.

"We messed up a pit, and I lost 10 seconds, and it was a crucial 10 seconds," Compton said, explaining that she came into the pit to find her bike waiting on the wrong side.

"I wasn't panicking, I just tried to regroup - when you see someone behind ahead of you it's easy to kick it again, but Katerina rode awesome.

"I knew they were both right behind, and that any mistake I made they're going to take advantage of. I tried to keep it smooth, and I didn't keep it smooth enough."

Nash wasn't immune to pit mistakes either, having ridden past her fresh bike and been forced to exit without changing machines. Having also had a series of inconsequential crashes, Nash re-found her focus on the last two laps, closing the gap to Compton and then holding on to take the sprint.

"I just wanted to ride and not make mistakes, but I knew if I rode hard I could grab a couple seconds here and there," Nash explained how she closed down the distance. "Once we hit the pavement, I hit it right away and hoped for the best. I just pedaled as hard as I could, and it worked out for me. I think I had a little bit more in the tank at the end."

Compton admitted that she couldn't put up much of a fight in the dash to the line. "I just didn't have the energy. Katarina got a gap and I closed it on the last lap, but I didn't have anything left to sprint.

Gould, who lives in Fort Collins, enjoyed not having to travel far to race, but admitted she wasn't as focused as she might have been. "It was nice except when I came to the race I had forgot my leg warmers," she said. "I wish I could have won, racing in front of the home town crowd, but the second best thing is for Katerina to win.

Her third place was enough to pad her already strong lead in the USGP series, however.

While the top three riders were fighting out ahead, there were several remarkable performances going on behind: Nash's Luna teammate Amy Dombroski maintained a steady fourth place, while Subaru-Hudz rider Amanda Miller worked her way through the field to claim fifth.

Known mostly through her road career with Team TIBCO, Miller said she was happy with the result, but not surprised considering her mountain bike and 'cross background.

"Once I got comfortable in the mud I kept picking people off," she said.

Another strong road rider, Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry/Specialized), was voted the race's most aggressive rider after fighting back from the very back of the field to claim eighth behind Portland native Alice Pennington and Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld).

Miller, who was ranked second in the USGP, crashed and lost her chain in the first lap, and was forced to stop and untangle it, pushing her back a dozen places in the race.

Full Results

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna0:42:10
2Katherine Compton (USA) Planet Bike0:00:01
3Georgia Gould (USA) Luna0:01:14
4Amy Dombroski (USA) Luna0:04:27
5Amanda Miller (USA) Defined Fitness Training0:04:55
6Alice Pennington (USA) S&M0:05:15
7Kaitlin Antonneau (USA) Nova Cycle Sports Foundation0:05:18
8Meredith Miller (USA) Cal Giant0:05:20
9Maureen Bruno Roy (USA)0:05:35
10Katy Curtis (Can) Cyclemeisters/Bow Cycle0:06:14
11Barbara Howe (USA) Ibis and the Danger Twins
12Nicole Duke (USA) Hudz Subaru0:06:45
13Laura Van Gilder (USA) C3 Athletes Serving Athletes0:06:54
14Amanda Carey (USA) Kenda/Felt0:06:59
15Pepper Harlton (Can) Juventus Cycling Club0:07:46
16Corey Coogan Cisek (USA) Team Plan C0:09:04
17Shannon Gibson (USA) Ellsworth-No Tubes0:09:13
18Melanie Long (USA) Tough Girl/SCOTT0:09:28
19Lisa Curry (USA) Gallatin Valley Bicycle Club0:09:34
20Lisa Strong (USA) Hudz Subaru0:09:40
21Lauri Webber (USA) Secret Henry's Team0:09:48
22Lora Heckman (USA)0:10:19
-1lapKristal Boni (USA)
-1lapLisa Hudson (USA)
-1lapNina Baum (USA)
-1lapKatherine Sherwin (USA)
-1lapKate Scheider (USA) Williams College
-1lapCarrie Cash Wootten (USA) Team VBF
-1lapMargell Abel (USA)
-2lapsBecca Blay (USA)
-2lapsCatherine Johnson (USA) RockyMounts~Izze Racing
-2lapsLynn Bush (USA)
-2lapsKristine Church (USA)
-2lapsAmanda Schaper (USA) Platinum Performance Cycling Team
-3lapsDeirdre Garvey (USA) American Cycling Association
DNFTeal Stetson-Lee (USA)

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