by Grant Berry
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – On a difficult course that offered little opportunity for rest, Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) once again showed her dominance by riding away with the victory. Behind her, USGP Series leader Katerina Nash traded blows with French national champion Caroline Mani until a late-race crash took Mani out of contention for the podium. Nineteen-year-old Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) stormed after Nash, giving furious chase and earning herself the third and final spot on the Elite Women’s podium, coming in just seven seconds behind Nash.
Nicole Duke (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) is getting quite the reputation as a holeshot specialist, and Day 1 of the Derby City Cup was no different than the many other races that she has led out this season. Hot on Duke’s wheel was French champion Caroline Mani (CC Etupes), followed by Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) and series leader Katerina Nash (Luna Chix).
Duke would not stay at the front long, and Mani was first to take over the lead. As the group exited the woods towards the end of the lap, Compton hit the front and opened up a small gap. After looking back and seeing daylight between herself and her competition, she put her head down and went to work.
“I just went with it because a little gap opened up, and on a course like this with the wind, drafting makes a big difference,” she said. “If I’m doing the work at the front, they should have to do some work too, so I figured I’d make them chase.”
By the end of lap two, Compton had a 15 second gap over Mani and Nash. The second chase group containing Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Antonneau and Duke was another 10 seconds in arrears.
As Compton passed under the start/finish banner on lap three, her gap had grown to 30 seconds and it was beginning to become clear that the race on course was for second place. As Nash and Mani were trading spots around the course, Antonneau was making up time and riding especially smooth on the technical and demanding course. She was followed by a surging Chloe Forsman (Crank Brothers Club 11) and Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms).
“I made a lot of mistakes the first two laps,” Antonneau said. “But I’d rather make them there than at the finish. The course was really fast.”
With one to go, Compton’s lead had stabilized at 35 seconds, and all eyes were on who might occupy the remaining two steps of the podium. Nash and Mani looked as though they were going to take it to the line, but then Mani hit the ground in the woods. Mani crumpled to the ground in pain after her race , paying special attention to her right wrist, although she said she didn’t think it was broken. “I know what that feels like,” she said.
As Mani was dusting herself off and checking her bike over for damage, Nash hit the gas and Mani was also passed by Antonneau for third place. This is how they would stay to the finish, with Compton taking the win, Nash holding on to second to keep the series leader’s jersey, and 19-year-old U23 national champion Antonneau coming across the line in third for her best race yet.
“I am so excited … this is my best race by far, and my goal is to make it back here for Worlds in 2013. I really don’t know what to say!” Antonneau beamed.
As it turns out, Mani was not the only rider towards the front of the bike race to experience drama. Nash explained, “I remounted a little too late over the flyover, and I broke my seat. Luckily the pits were right there, so I could get a quick bike change. Completely my fault, but it was not going to be my day today anyway. I got a little sick yesterday, so I am really happy with second today.”
After winning, Compton explained her strategy, or lack thereof: “I wasn’t necessarily planning to do it that way today, but I felt good and it is so easy to make a mistake out there and lose 20 or 30 seconds. I wanted to make sure I gave myself the best chance to do well on the big money day!”
Mical Dyck, who finished ninth, described the course: “It went through a twisty wooded section, out through rough grassy field, through the sand pit, back into the trees section near the end of the course (where all the climbing was), one final steep descent, turn around and run up the last climb and back out onto the start/finish pavement. It is easily one of the funnest and hardest courses around. Nowhere out there to hide, and nowhere out there to rest!” Find out more about Dyck’s race in her Rider Diary.
Results below the gallery
2011 USGP Derby City Day 1 Women
|2||NASH Katerina||Luna Pro Team||45:42:00||31|
|3||ANTONNEAU Kaitlin||Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c||45:52:00||41|
|5||FORSMAN Chloe||Crankbrothers Race Club 11||46:30:00||1:19|
|6||VAN GILDER Laura||C3 pb Mellow Mushroom||46:31:00||s.t.|
|7||MILLER Meredith||California Giant Cycling||46:45:00||1:34|
|8||DUKE Nicole||Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c||46:56:00||1:45|
|9||DYCK Mical||Pro City Racing||47:25:00||2:14|
|10||SMITH Andrea||LadiesFirst Racing||47:31:00||2:20|
|11||GOULD Georgia||Luna Pro Team||47:36:00||2:25|
|12||BUTLER Sue||River City Bicycles/Ridley||47:40:00||2:29|
|13||HARLTON Pepper||Juventus Cycling Club||47:46:00||2:35|
|14||SHERWIN Katherine||Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross||48:10:00||2:59|
|16||RIVERA Coryne||Marian University||48:15:00||3:04|
|17||THIEMANN Nicole||Team CF||48:24:00||3:13|
|18||BRUNO ROY Maureen||Bob's Red Mill pb Seven Cycles||48:34:00||3:23|
|19||ANTHONY Crystal||LadiesFirst Racing||48:41:00||3:30|
|20||GORRY Devon||Rambuski Law||48:53:00||3:42|
|21||STETSON-LEE Teal||California Giant Berry Farms/Sp||48:56:00||3:45|
|23||PENNINGTON Alice||Team S&M||49:06:00||3:55|
|24||BINGHAM Kelsy||Roosters/Bikers Edge||49:44:00||4:33|
|25||MAILE Sarah||Ventana Mountain Bikes||50:10:00||4:59|
|26||GROSS Rebecca||TOUGH GIRL||50:16:00||5:05|
|27||BLATT Rebecca||Team Kenda presented by Geargri||50:29:00||5:18|
|28||DALLAIRE Annajean||Racin' for Riley p/b Alderfer B||50:40:00||5:29|
|30||MAXWELL Jennifer||VanDessel Factory Team pb Sterk||50:59:00||5:48|
|31||STUDLEY Kari||Team Redline||51:04:00||5:53|
|32||FLYNN Kimberly||USSC-Trek p/b Vantaggio||51:07:00||5:56|
|34||GAERTNER Jenni||Raleigh America||51:36:00||6:25|
|36||ARNOLD Katie||Echelon Cycling Team||51:53:00||6:42|
|37||HUANG Sarah||Nova IS Corp||51:53:00||s.t.|
|39||GILBERT Sunny||Big Shark/ Michelob Ultra||52:25:00||7:14|
|40||JAMES Ashley||KCCX Elite||52:37:00||7:26|
|41||LONG Melanie||Tough Girl / SCOTT||52:47:00||7:36|
|42||BENJAMIN Kelly||Colavita/Forno d'Asolo||53:08:00||s.t.|
|43||BAUMSTEIGER Katrina||Team Rambuski Law||53:12:00||8:01|
|45||COOGAN CISEK Corey||Team Plan C PB Stevens||53:23:00||8:12|
|46||SMILEY Marne||Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross||53:52:00||8:41|
|47||ROSZKO Kathryn||BikeReg.com / Joe's Garage||53:58:00||8:47|
|48||GIBSON Shannon||Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross||54:09:00||8:58|
|49||BUSH Lynn||Tough Girl / SCOTT||54:33:00||9:22|
|50||BURKS Paula||US Stove / Vanatggio fitness||54:50:00||9:39|
|DNF||KOROL Meghan||Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross|
|DNF||DIMPEL Courtney||Team Rambuski Law|