Cyclocross World Cup: Compton powers away from Vos on a fast, dry Zolder circuit
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cyclocross World Cup: Compton powers away from Vos on a fast, dry Zolder circuit

by Ben Atkins at 8:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross, Race Reports and Results
US champion overcomes a slow start to widen overall lead

katie comptonKatie Compton (Trek) overcame a slow start on the dry, fast Zolder circuit, to take her fourth straight victory in the fifth round of the 2013/14 Cyclocross World Cup. The US champion took the first half of the five-lap race to scythe her way through the field, and caught up with the two-rider lead group of Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/GIant) and Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) at around halfway around.

Having caught the leaders, Compton accelerated almost immediately, and quickly saw off Belgian champion Cant. Vos managed to hold on longer, however, but a second kick from Compton saw the World champion finally distanced on the penultimate lap and, aside from a small stumble, the US champion was able to calmly ride on to victory.

Vos managed to hold Compton at no more than a dozen seconds for the first half of the final lap, but crossed the line 20 seconds behind her to take her second straight second spot. Cant, once dropped, was able to ride her own race, and took third place after 56.

The victory saw Compton increase her World Cup lead over second overall Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea), after the British champion found herself tangled with the barriers on one of the very first corners. Harris managed to recover enough to take fourth place, but her deficit to Compton was now widened to 65 points.

Vos gets a fast roadie’s start on the speedy motor circuit

Vos was away from the start first, with Cant, European champion Helen Wyman (Kona) and French champion Lucie Chainel-Lefevre-Lefevre (BH-SR Suntour-KMC) leading the pack behind her.

As Harris’ teammate Pavla Havlíková dashed around the inside of the second switchback corner, the British champion became entangled with American Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b and Harris tangled with the barrier, losing several places while she pulled her bike clear.

Compton had been equally slow off the start, having grounded her pedal and swamped by the pack, and passed through the pits to change her bike. She was soon up behind Harris as they tried to chase back on, and began cutting their way through the field.

Vos was pulling Cant away up, with the others stringing out behind them. Chainel-Lefevre was now chasing alone with Wyman leading a small group behind; Harris and Compton had fought their way through the pack, and were latching onto the back of this group.

Vos was unable to shake Cant and the two of them crossed the line together at the end of lap one. Chainel-Lefevre was at 17, now just two seconds ahead of Compton, who had stormed her way around the chasing group. Harris was still at the group’s head, and led it over the line at 26 seconds.

Compton soon passed Chainel-Lefevre, and began to try to bear down on the leading pair in front of her. Vos, meanwhile, was still trying vainly to shake Cant, but the Belgian champion doggedly clung on to the World champion’s wheel. As Vos shepherded Cant into the lead at the end of lap two, they were just six seconds clear of the charging Compton, and the US champion joined onto the back of the group shortly afterwards.

Harris had dropped the chasing group behind, and made her way across to Chainel-Lefevre. The British and French champions were 34 seconds behind across the line, however.

Compton hits the front then hits the race hard

Compton accelerated at the start of lap three, and Cant was unable to hold her. Vos, sitting in third wheel seemed unable to come around the Belgian champion but, as the gap began to open up, the World champion sprinted around and fought her way back up to Compton. Cant was able to stay with the pair of them briefly, but was paying for her earlier efforts and began to drift backwards.

Harris and Chainel-Lefevre were exchanging attacks behind Cant, but neither was able to escape the other. A little way back Stultiëns and Van Loy were edging their way back up to the two national champions, and the Dutchwoman soon joined the pair of them in their chase.

Compton accelerated again, and managed to gap Vos for a second time. This time the World champion was just unable to respond, and couldn’t close the gap. As they took the steep, bumpy descent back down to track level, then climbed the steps back up again, the gap was widening between the two rivals.

Down the wooden ramp onto the circuit once again, Compton took the bell 13 seconds ahead of Vos, with Cant still safely in third place at 32 seconds.

Chainel-Lefevre, Harris and Stultiëns were now at 1’22”, with Van Loy just six seconds further back. With her second position overall in the World Cup, the others looked to Harris to do the work, but the British champion was now suffering.

A small stumble from Compton allowed Vos to take back a few seconds, but both riders were on their final lap charge and the gap was stubbornly holding. As Compton cooly completed the final technical parts of the course, Vos seemed to resign herself to second place.

Compton passed a lapped rider on the final corner, onto the racing circuit, and had plenty of time to celebrate her 20th career World Cup victory. Vos cruised over the line to take second place, 20 seconds later, while Cant came in after 56.

Harris managed to sprint away from the chase group, crossing the line in fourth place, 1’29” behind Compton, the gap between herself and the US champion in the World Cup standings now a little wider.

1. Katie Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
3. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP
4. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea
5. Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (Fra) BH-SR Suntour-KMC
6. Sabrina Stultiëns (Ned) Rabobank-Liv-Giant
7. Ellen Van Loy (Bel) DNCS-Pro 2012 Cycling Team
8. Sophie de Boer (Ned) Telenet-Fidea
9. Annefleur Kalvenhaar (Ned) Giant Dealerteams
10. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing

World Cup standings after five rounds
1. Katie Compton (USA) Trek Cyclocross Collective 290pts
2. Nikki Harris (GBr) Telenet-Fidea 225
3. Sanne Cant (Bel) Enertherm-BKCP 186
4. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant 160
5. Helen Wyman (GBr) Kona Factory Racing 134


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