by Tom Robertson
A contingent of US racers were at the start line for the World Cup in Zolder, and though the Americans generally can handle their bikes as well as anyone in the world, today everyone was on the ground. Andrew Dillman, the top American in the Juniors race, crashed multiple times warming up. But once the race started, he held it upright as much as anyone, and slowly worked his way up through the field. Jeff Bahnson, on the other hand, crashed multiple times the first couple of laps and then said he started getting a little gun shy. Yannick Eckmann, a German national who lives in Boulder, Colorado, and is part of the Euro Cross Camp, rode in the top 10 for the entire race until the last couple of laps. Crashes and a flat tire knocked him further back.
In the U23 race, Danny Summerhill was in the riding near the top 10 for most of the day, but three crashes on the last lap knocked him out of it, though he still finished a strong 13th. Zach McDonald, who showed everyone that he can handle his bike with the best of them by riding a wheelie across the finish line, finished just behind in 17th.In the women’s race Katie Compton had a different strategy than last week, where she sat on a few laps before attacking. In Zolder she powered away from the gun, and though she crashed a few times as well, she finished a minute in front of her closest competitor Marianne Vos. Compton now leads the World Cup standings.
In the men’s elite race Lars Boom lined up on the fifth row, and by the end of the first lap was up with the leaders. He and Niels Albert rode away from the rest of the field. But just like everyone else on this crazy day, they also took their share of spills. Sean Babcock rode a strong race and was the top Euro Cross Camp finisher in the Elite field.