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Aigle, Switzerland – On a cool day among the snow-dusted mountains of the Alps, Katie Compton (Planet Bike) came from behind on a fast, challenging course to win the first UCI Cyclocross World Cup of the season in Aigle, Switzerland. Compton rode away from Dutch star Daphny van den Brand late in the race, taking victory ahead of a stacked field – though a field conspicuously missing the world champion, Marianne Vos, who’s sitting out the early season to focus on racing on the road and track. Czech (but California-based) Katerina Nash (Luna) finished third, while Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash), Hanka Kupfernagel (Itera) and Helen Wyman (Kona) rounded out the top six.
Despite the American’s decisive victory, the early race belonged to rising star Sanne van Paassen, who slipped through a hole on the left side of the field and grabbed the lead on the race’s first turn. Behind her, Germany’s Hanka Kupfernagel and Belgium’s Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus) led the chase. Compton, meanwhile, had a slow start and found herself some 10 riders back during the first lap.
But van Paassen ceded the lead to Daphny van den Brand, who immediately launched an attack, looking to break up the long line of riders behind her. Van Paassen matched van Den Brand’s early surge, but crashed hard when she hit the tape on the descent from one of the course’s numerous short, steep hills, tumbling head over heels to the ground. Though the the 23 year-old Dutchwoman recovered quickly, the fall allowed van Den Brand to go clear, pulling Kupfernagel and Sanne Cant behind her.
Van Paassen, meanwhile, joined forces with Compton, Czech Pavla Havlikova and Britain’s Helen Wyman, starting the chase some 10 seconds back from the leaders. While van Den Brand began to stretch a lead over Kupfernagel and Cant up front, the group of four were closing from behind. Under the the pressure of van den Brand’s attack at the head of the race, and Compton’s surging chase, the race began to fracture, and by the late laps Compton and van den Brand rode together, some 10 seconds ahead of Kupfernagel and van Paassen.
Compton, attacking out of every one of the course’s tight turns, began to pull away from the Dutchwoman on the third of the race’s six laps, coming into the final lap alone, some 30 seconds clear of van den Brand, who, in turn, led chasers Katerina Nash and van Paassen. With a huge gap, Compton had plenty of time to savor her first World Cup win of the 2010-11 season, while Nash and Van Paassen sprinted for third some 45 seconds behind.
After the race, Compton told Cyclocross Magazine that she was thrilled with the results. “I’m super excited about the win,” she said, “I really needed that after a long tough season dealing with health issues. It felt great to win, and I just had a fun time racing today. My form is getting better and better. [I] still have plenty of room to improve, but I’m off to a great start.”
One place where the US national champion acknowledged she could use some work was in the early stages of the race. “My starts right now are a weak point and something I really need to work on,” she said afterwards. “I just didn’t have much get-up-and-go, so I had to work my way up to the front. Once I got there I just kept going.” Nonetheless, Compton said, the race from behind suited her, and she came away feeling great about her prospects for the season and looking forward to a return to Switzerland next year. “I loved having the first World Cup here,” she said. “It was a great venue and super beautiful. I can’t wait to come back next year!”
Americans Amy Dombroski (Luna) and Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) finished 19th and 20th, respectively. Stay tuned for more from Aigle and a personal report from Sue Butler.
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|2||Daphny VAN DEN BRAND||NED||33||40:37:00|
|4||Sanne VAN PAASSEN||NED||23||40:46:00|
|10||Sophie DE BOER||NED||21||42:14:00|
|15||Linda VAN RIJEN||NED||23||42:57:00|
|22||Ellen VAN LOY||BEL||31||43:55:00|
|28||Nicole DE BIE – LEYTEN||BEL||36||44:25:00|
|31||Tessa VAN NIEUWPOORT||NED||20||45:17:00|