Cyclocross World Cup: Compton tops returning Vos in Namur
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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Cyclocross World Cup: Compton tops returning Vos in Namur

by Kyle Moore at 8:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
 
American extends World Cup lead over Harris, who takes solid third place

Katie ComptonKatie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) took an impressive victory which was, in her own words, a bit surprising, topping Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) in the UCI Cyclocross World Cup Namur on Sunday. Compton came back from an early deficit and rode sensibly toward the lead on the second of four difficult laps. What made the victory surprising was that her early deficit came at the hands of Vos, who was by herself at the front into the first lap.

But Vos was returning from a break from racing, which she also used to take care of some back surgery, and it soon became obvious that the world champion was lacking some punch. She succumbed to Compton on one of the Namur course’s many steep rises, but then the Dutchwoman rode well to hold off Nicki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) for second.

Harris was pursuing gamely for the second half of the race, but the British champ would end up finishing third. Eva Lechner (Colnago-Sudtirol) won an exciting multi-rider battle for fourth ahead of Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo Women).

After the race, Compton indicated that her early struggles behind Vos – which have been her undoing in races in the past – were due to a problem at the start. The Trek Cyclocross rider said that she slipped a pedal early, and was then forced to battle back from behind.

“I had to be patient [after that], so I rode smart and didn’t make mistakes,” Compton said with a smile afterward. “I felt better after a couple laps, and I was running well.

“I was really surprised,” the American stated when asked about catching Vos. “After I caught her on that run up, I tried to keep the pace consistent. I know she is strong, and I didn’t want to go too hard too soon and then lose at the end. I’m really happy that I could pull off the win. I haven’t looked at the [world cup] points. I’m just trying to take it one race at a time and finish the best I can.”

The Italian champion Lechner enjoyed Namur’s early big climb the most, as she stamped to the lead ahead of Vos and Helen Wyman (Kona). Riders lined out as they wound their way downhill on the wet and muddy course. Harris also showed some aggression early, sweeping around Vos in a corner.

But as the course got muddier, Vos went to the lead. She made the quick decision to run the off-camber section for the first time, extending a little further on Lechner and Harris. Wyman lost several spots after wiping out in a muddy corner, while Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) and Compton rode fourth and fifth on course.

Compton was on a charge because she had to be, as Vos was already disappearing into the horizon. The American world cup leader passed Cant and Lechner, and came around Harris as well. The duo changed through the pits the first time, which Vos had skipped, and hit the line to begin lap two with a 14-second deficit to the world champion. Compton’s source of inspiration was her current good form, plus the fact that Vos was coming off her break from racing, and the American used the climb on the second lap to begin reeling in the Dutchwoman. Harris wasn’t going away either, as the British champ had kept Compton close and opened a sizeable gap on a five-woman chase group behind her, in Cant, Lechner, Ferrand Prevot, Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld), and Ellen Van Loy (DNCS-Pro 2012).

Compton used a well-timed run to catch a laboring Vos at the top of a crest, and the American used the next few undulations to take a small lead on Vos. Compton hit the line with two laps gone – the halfway point of the race – with a 13-tick lead on Vos. Harris drove over a further ten seconds behind. The chasing group was through the pits and trying to keep it close, but Cant led them over the line more than a minute back.

The American gave Vos a bit of hope midway through lap three, after appearing extra muddy and banging her brake lever back into place, apparently after a fall. But Vos was laboured again on the same rise that Compton used to pass her on the previous lap, and Compton began to extend once more. Harris continued to battle in third place, but was making few inroads on Vos. Behind her, Lechner – who had apparently attended the Vincenzo Nibali school of climbing - was still capitalizing on the hills, riding fourth ahead of Cant.

Compton began her final lap with room to spare, sporting a 26-second lead on Vos. Meanwhile, Harris’ work was beginning to pay off, as the Brit was within ten seconds of the world champ in second. But after a brief bobble, Vos charged up the final big hill opening the lap, keeping Harris at bay. Compton found her line on the off-camber section and remained clean through the final lap.

Behind, Antonneau had dropped off the pace of the chasing group, as had Van Loy, so the pack was down to three, with Ferrand Prevot and Lechner trading off at the front ahead of Cant, who appeared sluggish after her muddy win in Essen on Saturday. Lechner would end up winning that battle, but Compton won the war, extending her world cup lead in the process.

Compton finished off Vos by 40 seconds, with Harris bravely waving the white flag seven seconds after the Dutchwoman.

UCI Cyclocross World Cup – Namur – Elite Women’s Brief Results:

1, Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
2, Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) at 40”
3, Nicki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) at 47”
4, Eva Lechner (Colnago-Sudtirol) at 1’21”
5, Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo Women) at 1’23”
6, Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) at 1’34”
7, Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) at 1’48”
8, Ellen Van Loy (DNCS Pro 2012) at 2’08”
9, Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (BH-SR Suntour) at 2’43”
10, Helen Wyman (Kona) at 2’46”
11, Christine Majerus (Sengers Ladies) at 3’11
12, Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms) at 3’19”

UCI World Cup Standings:

Katie Compton 230 pts
Nicki Harris 185
Sanne Cant 141
Helen Wyman 112
Marianne Vos 110
Ellen Van Loy 104
Pavla Havlikova 103
Lucie Chainel-Lefevre 88

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