by Grant Berry
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – It’s been an interesting weekend for the women of cyclocross, to say the least. Katie Compton took a definitive lead over Katerina Nash in the USGP series overall lead, 19-year-old Kaitlin Antonneau surprised the world with not one, but two podium finishes, and Georgia Gould’s “heckle me” campaign had the cyclocross community in stitches all weekend.
Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms) got the party started in Women’s race by grabbing the holeshot with authority. She led the field around the course, up and over the extra steep flyover until bobbling in the sand with Katie Compton (Rabobank–Giant) on her wheel. Katie immediately seized the opportunity, and opened up a gap on the rest of her competition before the first lap was even over.
“Sand pits are tough, and it’s so easy to make a mistake,” explained Compton in the post race press conference. “Since I was following somebody in, I made sure that I had an out in case something happened … and sure enough, I needed that out. I was able to get around and kind of pedal through it and I think that’s where I got a little bit of a gap and just stayed on it.”
The World Cup winner had a five bike length lead as she passed under the start/finish banner to begin the second lap, as Katerina Nash (Luna) and Nicole Duke (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld) chased hard and made contact before the flyover. Meredith Miller was alone and chasing, and behind her, Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld) also forged her way through the wind solo. Sue Butler (River City Bicycles) and Mical Dyck (Pro City Racing) were also not that far behind.
As spectators waited for the leaders to emerge from the woods to start the third lap, riders had quickly become rider and Katie Compton was alone.
“I punched it on the steep hill that I was able to stay on bike for. Katerina had to dismount, so that is where I got my gap,” said Compton.
Compton stretched her gap to nearly 30 seconds going into the second to last lap. Nash, Duke, and Miller tried to work together to limit their losses while Antonneau kept her head down and continued to try and make contact. She would do just that in the main sand pit, as the other three women dismounted to run and Antonneau rode a clean line and made contact shortly thereafter. The group of three now was four. Chloe Forsman (Crank Brothers Club 11) was putting in another stellar ride in sixth, limiting her losses and trailing the chase group by a handful of seconds.
With one to go, Compton’s gap was unchanged. The participants in the chase group each tried to play to their strengths, and set themselves up for making the podium. Antonneau was able to recover from her efforts a little, and hit the gas on one of the tricky off-camber corners to drop her teammate Duke out of the group while simultaneously putting Miller on the ropes. Coming on to the pavement, the 19-year-old led out the sprint for second, and held off the veteran Nash to, once again, notch her best career finish to date.
“I wanted to come on to the pavement first, so I tried really hard to be first into the last section. When we hit the pavement, I just sprinted as fast as I could!” she said with a smile.
Compton was clearly happy for Antonneau as they were both quick to give each other credit for the U23 National Champion’s results.
“I am so proud of her. I can only give guidance,” Compton said. “She is the one who has to carry out the plan and execute. She is a huge talent, and I am excited for her future.” It is safe to say that no one will be surprised if Antonneau is present, and competitive at this very venue for Worlds in 2013.
Elite Women’s Full Results
1 COMPTON Katherine Rabobank 2 ANTONNEAU Kaitlin Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c 3 NASH Katerina Luna Pro Team 4 MILLER Meredith California Giant Cycling 5 DUKE Nicole Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c 6 FORSMAN Chloe Crankbrothers Race Club 11 7 VAN GILDER Laura C3 pb Mellow Mushroom 8 BUTLER Sue Hudz Subaru 9 STETSON-LEE Teal California Giant Berry Farms/Sp 10 DYCK Mical Pro City Racing 11 RIVERA Coryn Marian University 12 SMITH Andrea LadiesFirst Racing 13 PENNINGTON Alice Team S&M 14 HARLTON Pepper Juventus Cycling Club 15 CAREY Amanda Kenda/Felt 16 SHERWIN Katherine Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross 17 BINGHAM Kelsy Roosters/Bikers Edge 18 THIEMANN Nicole Team CF 19 ANTHONY Crystal LadiesFirst Racing 20 GORRY Devon Rambuski Law 21 KRASNIAK Julie Rapha-Focus 22 BLATT Rebecca Team Kenda presented by Geargri 23 STUDLEY Kari Team Redline 24 GROSS Rebecca TOUGH GIRL 25 MAILE Sarah Ventana Mountain Bikes 26 KOROL Meghan bob's Red Mill Cyclocross 27 FLYNN Kimberly USSC-Trek p/b Vantaggio 28 GAERTNER Jenni Raleigh America 29 GOULD Georgia Luna Pro Team 30 STEWART Sarah 31 THURSTON Emily STEVENS 32 SMILEY Marne Bob's Red Mill Cyclocross 33 GILBERT Sunny Big Shark/ Michelob Ultra 34 SONE Linda Cycle-Smart/Flanders Page 1 35 HUANG Sarah Nova IS Corp 36 DIMPEL Courtney Team Rambuski Law 37 PATERSON Kelly WOLVERINE/ACFSTORES.COM 38 OSBORNE Corrie IsCorp 39 DINGMAN Anna Cycleution 40 BURKS Paula US Stove / Vanatggio fitness 41 COOGAN CISEK Corey Team Plan C PB Stevens 42 BAUMSTEIGER Katrina Team Rambuski Law 43 BUSH Lynn Tough Girl / SCOTT 44 GIBSON Shannon Stan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross 45 DONOVAN Bridget Trek Store Cincinnati/Seven Cyc 46 COBB Elizabeth Bikereg.com 47 BENJAMIN Kelly Colavita/Forno d'Asolo 48 DOWD Patricia DNF MANI Caroline DNF BRUNO ROY Maureen Bob's Red Mill pb Seven Cycles DNF LONG Melanie Tough Girl / SCOTT DNS JAMES Ashley KCCX Elite DNS DALLAIRE Annajean Racin' for Riley p/b Alderfer Bergen DNS ARNOLD Katie Echelon Cycling Team