Women’s Cyclo-cross World Cup: Compton flawless in Namur victory
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Women’s Cyclo-cross World Cup: Compton flawless in Namur victory

by Kyle Moore at 9:38 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
Nash takes second, Vos third after two opening lap crashes

Katie ComptonKatie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) triumphed in the women’s round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur, leading almost from the gun in what was to be a highly touted battle with current world champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank). But as Vos continues to try to find her form as her cyclo-cross season gets underway, she showed some rust on what was a sticky and muddy Namur course.

Vos went down twice on the opening of four laps, and while she did well to make up at least seven positions over the next three laps, she could never close down completely on the leading duo of Compton and Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team), who was second.

After noting problems with clumsiness and jetlag in previous World Cup events this season, Compton was nearly flawless in her Namur victory. Nash was almost perfect as well, and the Czech rider was always in earshot of Compton, and at times within a couple seconds. But the American countered every surge by Nash and held her off at the finish by a handful of seconds.

At the drop of the flag, the aggressive Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Veldritacademe Enertherm-BKCP) crashed early, and riders took a single file line through some of the race’s early bends. Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank) grabbed the lead initially, with Compton and Vos in her wheel.

While Compton was basically perfect on the Namur course’s muddy ups and downs, Vos struggled on the first lap. While she may have been pinched a bit by Van Paassen on the inside barrier of a downhill section, Vos clipped the barrier with her front wheel and somersaulted around. With the riders still bunched early, Vos faced a tedious remount and lost ten positions. Compton hit the next climb first and the rest of the bunch bottlenecked at the top, giving the American a slight advantage after the right-hand bend and steep downhill.

The Namur course was wet and muddy throughout, but it was worst in the off-camber section, where rainwater and mud collection was thickest. Riders would choose a variety of lines and techniques throughout the race, and Vos tried to ride the bottom on lap one, looking to make up ground before the American got too far ahead. But the Rabobank rider lost her front wheel in the muck, coming down on her right shoulder. Vos picked herself up and ran the rest of the section, but further time had been added to her deficit.

Coming to the end of the eventful first lap, gaps were expanding at the front, as Compton, Nash and Van Paassen all changed bikes to begin the second lap within ten seconds of each other. Helen Wyman (Kona), Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (BH-SR Suntour), Cant, and Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) came through next, as Vos hit the line 33 seconds behind Compton, with Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Hitec Products-Mistral Home) for company.

Ahead, Compton bobbled at the top of a climb, momentarily unclipping while Nash ran up the hill behind her, but the mistake would be Compton’s last. She pulled back out a small gap and continued to ride consistently, as Vos began to make up ground, sprinting out of every bend.

Behind Nash, Van Paassen had been caught by Wyman and Vos, forming a chasing trio positioned third on course. In the off-camber section for the second time, Compton took the lower line, running the second half, while Nash and Van Paassen kicked their way along the banking at the top. Nash used the high line to close down almost completely on Compton. But as she would for the rest of the day, Compton used a small surge to pull back out another handful of seconds, and both changed bikes again to begin lap three.

Compton worked with a 13-second gap on Nash, with Wyman, Van Paassen and Vos all hitting the line 31 seconds in arrears. Vos promptly went to the front of the chasing group and put Wyman to task, while ahead, Compton took the wider line on the section she had bobbled earlier. Vos was soon dropping Wyman and Van Paassen, while Compton was smooth and steady on every downhill.

In the off-camber section, Compton tried the middle line for the first time but Nash kicked along the top again, and again closed down on the American. Behind, the early efforts began to catch up to Vos, who could make up no more ground on Nash or Compton. Wyman started to bridge back to the Rabobank rider as Compton and Nash changed bikes to begin the final lap. Nash continued to float at 11 seconds behind the American, with Vos at 41 seconds, Wyman 49 ticks back, and Harris at a minute. Van Paassen had dropped back to sixth.

Compton continued carefully up and down the hilly Namur course, kicking along the top of the off-camber section on the final time through. Behind, Wyman and Harris were chasing Vos, who was riding cleanly but struggling to make up her early deficit.

Nash closed down on Compton one more time, but the Czech’s hopes were put to bed a final time by the American. Compton soloed to the line, adding to her World Cup lead.

UCI World Cup Cyclo-cross Namur:

1. Katie Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective
2. Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Chix
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team
4. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing
5. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
6. Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team
7. Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra) BH-SR Suntour-Peisey Vallandry
8. Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago-Sudtirol
9. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
10. Christel Ferrier Bruneau (Fra) Hitec Products-Mistral Home

World Cup standings after five rounds
1. Katie Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective 290pts
2. Sanne Van Paassen (Ned) Rabobank Giant Offroad Team 210
3. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea 205
4. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing 188
5. Jasmin Achermann (Swi) Rapha-Focus 150
6. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP 137
7. Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra) BH-SR Suntour-Peisey Vallandry 129
8. Christel Ferrier Bruneau (Fra) Hitec Products-Mistral Home 126
9. Pavla Havlikova (Cze) Telenet-Fidea 115
10. Gabriella Day (GBr) Rapha-Focus 108

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