Compton averts disaster to hold World Cup lead
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Compton averts disaster to hold World Cup lead

by Ben Atkins at 6:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Cyclocross
 

A disastrous first lap could have cost US champion Katie Compton (Planet Bike) dearly in Saturday’s cyclocross World Cup race in Koksijde, Belgium. Her strength and determination came into play though, and she managed to salvage a fighting third place behind the Dutch pair of World champion Marianne Vos (DSB Bank-Nederland Bloeit) and Netherlands champion Daphny Van Den Brand (ZZPR.nl).

“That first turn after the start/finish Pavla [Havlikova] came over on me and her derailleur hit my front wheel,” she explained to VeloNation after the race, “so I broke a couple of spokes and had to come in for a pit that first lap. I think I dropped in about 10th or something then I just got slowed in the sand and I got held back. Then I crashed a couple of times that first lap so I just lost a bunch of time, and I spent the rest of the time just chasing, one person at a time.”

On the winding sandy course she was forced to pick her way through the slower riders as Vos and Van Den Brand were building a lead together up front. “I kind of kept chasing,” she said. “I’d get stuck behind them [the other riders] a little bit, just wait for a time to get around. Once I got around I just tried to chase Daphny [Van Den Brand] and Marianne [Vos].”

In the event, a possible disaster was turned into third place: “Pretty happy I had a podium,” she smiled, “seeing as I sucked so badly on the first lap! I was like: ‘it can’t get worse than this, so keep fighting!’”

“You know, today, right now I’m happy with 3rd, simply because I had such a s__t race. Yeah, I’m pretty happy to get the podium considering it wasn’t pretty.”

Compton’s lead over Van Den Brand has been cut from 30 points to 25, and Vos has also closed the gap to 55 having missed the first race in Treviso, Italy. The American is determined to hang on to that lead in the season-long competition. “I still have the jersey,” she smiled. “I’m going to keep fighting for all the points I can, I’m going to keep fighting for every spot.”

“Luckily they’ve given me a new one each time,” she laughed on the subject of the almost completely white skinsuit she wears as World Cup leader. “You can’t get that white clean, the Belgian mud doesn’t come out! You can’t keep it clean!”

Having won the first two rounds of the World Cup in Treviso, Italy and Nommay, France – and most other races she has entered – Compton has been on top of her form. Not necessarily ideal for this early in the season, but she hopes a short break this week will help put things right. “I came in pretty hot this season,” she said, “so I don’t think my form is ideal right now due to the travel and the racing. I go home on Tuesday, there’ll be five days relaxing before the nationals and then I’ll be back here.”

“Right now I’m doing the best I can with the travel and everything and hopefully in January I can start bringing it up again for the World Championships.”

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