Nash Surprises Compton, Kabush Overpowers Driscoll at USGP Fort Collins Day One – UPDATED: More Photos

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Nash sprints to the win over Compton © Dejan Smaic

Nash sprints to the win over Compton © Dejan Smaic

by Lee Waldman & Christopher Bagg

Fort Collins, CO – After a fall season full of unseasonably warm temperatures, the riders were finally served a helping of more typical cyclocross weather. The snow that hit Colorado’s front range at the end of the week modified what might have been a smooth, fast course into one that in places was an uphill death march. Under alternately glowering and sunny skies, Katerina Nash (Luna) battled Katie Compton (Planet Bike/Stevens) over 40 minutes in Fort Collins today, eventually prevailing over the American national champion. In the men’s race, Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) ruled most of the day, working off the front with Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain). The two riders swapped the lead several times, with Kabush seemingly biding his time before putting in an attack with a little more than two laps to go and soloing his way to victory from there. The win marked Kabush’s fist USGP victory since a 2005 Gloucester win and, as Kabush would later say, ended his seemingly incessant tendency to finish in fourth, just off the podium.

Official ’Cross Weather Here at Last

It was, as Barry Wicks (Kona) put it, “Finally, a real cyclocross course.” The early morning races presented the challenge of slick off-camber corners and frozen ruts. The bikes of the Junior racers and the lower category men and women bounced and slid through the tricky downhill sections of the course. The following uphills were so slick in places that applying too much power to the pedals resulted in the rear wheel spinning out and a complete loss of traction.

Even though the temperatures remained a bit below seasonal, the sun warmed the course enough to soften the ruts and produce some incredibly “interesting” greasy corners on the tricky descent after the start. The climb to the first pit and following flyover changed from icy to energy-sapping mud. By the time riders reached the double barrier section on the last half of the lap, their bikes had gained at least a pound.

This was a course that put a premium on bike handling skills and smooth, judicious application of power. The winners in both the women’s and men’s fields were the riders who could do both.

Series leader Georgia Gould would lead the elite trio early © Dejan Smaic

Series leader Georgia Gould would lead the elite trio early © Dejan Smaic

Nash and Compton go Head to Head

It was a back-and-forth affair, with Georgia Gould (Luna) taking the hole shot in front of a pile-up, followed closely by Katie Compton (Planet Bike/Stevens) and the rest of the women’s field. Coming off of the paved start/finish straight into the muddy and rutted off-road section, the women in the first half of the field were unfazed by a crash that took Laura van Gilder (C3-Athletes Serving Athletes), currently the UCI’s third-ranked rider, from her start position to 100 meters off the back of the entire field as she struggled to get her thrown chain back on and remount. She would spend the rest of the race making her way back through slower riders, but sadly would never see the front of the race again. Hometown hope Meredith Miller (Cal Giant) also was held up by the crash, but got back on the throttle quickly. Miller would suffer to win a moral victory for her local supporters, racing back into the top 10 and winning the day’s SRAM Most Aggressive Rider award.

A Lessened Field

Nash opened up a gap on the diminished field (about 10 riders made it through the first-turn crash safely) during the first lap, but Compton and Gould rode back up to the Czech national champion, with Amy Dombroski holding onto a distant fourth position. For the first half of the race Compton appeared to be in control, riding smoothly through all of the slick corners, taking her foot out when needed to maintain balance, but never looking stressed or in danger of losing her position. On the uphill power sections she was out of the saddle, putting seconds between herself, Nash and Gould.

As race announcer Richard Fries repeatedly mentioned over the course’s PA system, Compton tends to attack mercilessly on the second lap, and soon she had a gap of about 10 or 15 seconds over the pair of Luna riders. She smoothed through the outside of turns and appeared to be out-riding Nash, who bobbled through several of the off-camber hairpins–the course designers placed one of those puzzles directly after a set of barriers, forcing the less skilled riders off their bikes twice in less than 30 meters. Nash soon left her teammate, though, and made up ground on Compton, and as the two leaders began the fourth lap they were riding together.

It quickly became a two-woman race © Dejan Smaic

It quickly became a two-woman race © Dejan Smaic

Fourth Lap Issues

Two mishaps during this lap probably cost Compton the race, but she was quick to brush off any one mistake as crucial: “We were all making mistakes,” she said later. On the climb back up to the pits, one right turn had been giving riders fits all day: a 90-degree turn with a short ramp one had to ride across diagonally. Compton slipped and had to dismount and lost ground as she tried to re-start up the slick hill. Needing a new bike, she entered the pit, but husband Mark Legg-Compton had placed himself on the pit’s other side. “Mark!” Compton shouted, and he ran her the bike, but she’d lost a big 10 seconds. “I’ve never done that in my life,” a distraught Legg-Compton said after the race; “It was like Sven the other day, standing there with no bike.” Legg-Compton had just rolled to a second-place finish in the 35+ 1-3 Category and the USGP series lead in that competition. “I’ve got to focus on my day job, though,” the self-described “anal” pit chief said, “And racing the mens’ 35+ race isn’t my day job.”

A Sprint Too Far

Compton, bedeviled this year by recovery issues, has often found a way to win from slightly more difficult positions than she’s accustomed, so when she clawed her way back to the diminutive Czech rider, many spectators believed the American would once again assert her domestic dominance. It wasn’t to be, however, as Nash turned the standard sprint script on its head, knocking Compton off her wheel on the slightly uphill finish. “Katerina led it out,” Compton said during the post-race press conference, “and I followed.” She got a big laugh. Not to be outdone, Georgia Gould reveled in her third place finish (and retained series leader jersey) and kept the media entertained with a stand-up worthy retelling of the race. The three women were affable and all smiles, but you can bet all three have different — but equally inspired — reasons for expecting to dominate tomorrow.

Amy Dombroski rode in alone in fourth, almost four minutes in arrears to the leaders. Gould hung on to her USGP series leader jersey, but reportedly has to cook her winning teammate dinner tonight. The victory serves as confirmation of Nash’s fitness after the success she has already had in Europe this season.

The two passed through the finish on the bell lap together, it looked like it would be a two-up sprint for the line. However, Nash caught and passed Compton on the next to last uphill section heading towards the flyover. On the final descent, her gap held and as she negotiated the double barrier section and circled the registration tent on the run-in to the finish, she held a precious two-second lead on Compton. That proved to be enough as she crossed the finish line the clear winner. Compton came across second with Gould, a Fort Collins rider, third and Dombroski a distant fourth.

Notes: Alice Pennington (Team S&M) put a season’s worth of mud races in Oregon to good use and turned in a great performance to claim sixth place, sandwiched between Amanda Miller (Hudz-Subaru) and Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com)

Elite Men’s Race

Kabush wraps up his first USGP win. © Dejan Smaic / Sportifimages.com

Kabush wraps up his first USGP win. © Dejan Smaic / Sportifimages.com

The weather turned colder for the men’s race, and it seemed that the course was drying out a bit, at least on the flatter sections. The downhill corners were still slick and greasy, and few if any riders even attempted to corner without a foot out. Even with that, there was a crash on the first lap immediately after the start.

Bobbling but Loving It

Series leader Jeremy Powers (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com) fired the first shot taking the lead from the gun, but Kabush was quick to grab it after a bobble by the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com rider. Ryan Trebon (Kona), Tim Johnson (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com) and the rest of the field were bunched behind. By the end of the first lap, much like the women’s race, the course had done its work and selected the riders who would battle for the win. In the mix were Jamey Driscoll (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com), Trebon, Geoff Kabush, Todd Wells (Specialized Factory-Cal Giant), Johnson, Powers and Adam Craig (Rabo-Giant).

“I  just had a bad two or three laps, had the wrong pressure, slammed into things, had a mechanical…” said Powers of his off day at the office. Despite his seventh-place finish, he remained upbeat as always, saying, “It was a great course, though, very slimy, very European. The grass is tall and long, then the mud and slime … there’s a good climb in it, it’s dry in some sections. A perfect cyclocross course!”

Two Distance the Rest

Kabush leading Driscoll before his big attack.© Dejan Smaic / Sportifimages.com

Kabush leading Driscoll before his big attack.© Dejan Smaic / Sportifimages.com

Kabush was clearly the strongest rider in the field today with Driscoll almost his equal. The two of them appeared to be much more comfortable on the technical and the power sections of the course, and eventually the race turned into a battle between the two. Trebon, Wells and Johnson chased for the entire race, but were never able to crack the stranglehold that Kabush and Driscoll had on the top steps of the podium.

As the race progressed, the downhill portions of the course continued to slicken and there were numerous bobbles by all of the riders. With five laps to go, the race was down to three riders: Driscoll, Kabush and Trebon. Wells and Johnson continued to chase with Powers and Craig following.

Mad MTB Skills

Kabush attacked Driscoll on the uphill leading to the flyover with three to go, and for the remaining laps he was able to hold off Driscoll despite a crash with a half-lap to go. Luckily, he had space to spare and ultimately rolled across the line high-fiving the crowd, still with a 12-second gap. “Summer cyclocross is over,” announced a pleased Kabush. “When it goes well, it feels easy. Jamey Driscoll went by me, but I really felt in control today, and I was getting pissed off with all of the fourth places lately.”

Meanwhile, behind the two Ryan Trebon continued to ride strongly, maintaining the third place position he had yo-yoed in and out of for much of the race. “My fitness was good, but I kept making small mistake after small mistake,” said Trebon. “I was able to punch it at the end and hold those guys off, which was good. Some days you’re just not that good at [the technical skills].”

Johnson grew stronger as the race progressed and battled with Wells over the closing laps of the race. Wells held him off for fourth and Johnson, with a smile – or perhaps a grimace from the tough day – on his face, rode across in fifth.

Zach McDonald (Rapha-Focus) scored a stellar sixth place, and in so doing snagged the SRAM Most Aggressive Rider prize as well as the U23 victory in convincing fashion.

Women’s Photo Gallery:

Men’s Photo Gallery:


Elite Women’s Results:

Rank Name Nat. Age* Result PaR PcR
1 Katerina NASH CZE 34 42:10 40 40
2 Katherine COMPTON USA 33 42:11 30 30
3 Georgia GOULD USA 31 43:24 20 20
4 Amy DOMBROSKI USA 24 46:37 15 15
5 Amanda MILLER USA 25 47:05 10 10
6 Alice PENNINGTON USA 30 47:25 8 8
7 Kaitlin ANTONNEAU USA 19 47:28 6 6
8 Meredith MILLER USA 38 47:30 4 4
9 Maureen BRUNO ROY USA 36 47:45 2 2
10 Katy CURTIS CAN 29 48:24 1 1
11 Barbara HOWE USA 35 48:24
12 Nicole DUKE USA 37 48:55
13 Laura VAN GILDER USA 47 49:04
14 Amanda CAREY USA 33 49:09
15 Pepper HARLTON CAN 26 49:56
16 Corey COOGAN USA 34 51:14
17 Shannon GIBSON USA 45 51:23
18 Melanie LONG USA 38 51:38
19 Lisa CURRY USA 30 51:44
20 Lisa STRONG USA 37 51:50
21 Lauri WEBBER USA 47 51:58
22 Lora HECKMAN USA 41 52:29
23 Kristal BONI USA 37
24 Lisa HUDSON USA 38
25 Nina BAUM USA 37
26 Katherine SHERWIN USA 38
27 Kate SCHEIDER USA 26
28 Carrie CASH-WOOTTEN USA 34
29 Margell ABEL USA 42
30 Rebecca BLAY USA 35
31 Catherine JOHNSON USA 34
32 Lynn BUSH USA 32
33 Kristine CHURCH USA 32
34 Amanda SCHAPER USA 28
35 Deidre GARVEY USA 51

Elite Men’s Results:

Rank Name Nat. Age* Result PaR PcR
1 Geoff KABUSH CAN 34 1:00:06 40 40
2 James DRISCOLL USA 25 1:00:28 30 30
3 Ryan TREBON USA 30 1:00:53 20 20
4 Todd WELLS USA 36 1:01:01 15 15
5 Timothy JOHNSON USA 34 1:01:05 10 10
6 Zach MCDONALD USA 20 1:01:45 8 8
7 Jeremy POWERS USA 28 1:01:50 6 6
8 Adam CRAIG USA 30 1:02:49 4 4
9 Nicholas WEIGHALL USA 24 1:03:06 2 2
10 Tristan SCHOUTEN USA 29 1:03:09 1 1
11 Christopher JONES USA 32 1:03:16
12 Troy WELLS USA 27 1:03:22
13 Barry WICKS USA 30 1:04:14
14 Brian MATTER USA 33 1:04:24
15 Sean BABCOCK USA 28 1:04:29
16 Adam MCGRATH USA 24 1:04:36
17 Luke KEOUGH USA 20 1:04:36
18 Aaron SCHOOLER CAN 26 1:04:44
19 Allen KRUGHOFF USA 27 1:05:23
20 Brady KAPPIUS USA 24 1:05:45
21 Mitch HOKE USA 23 1:05:49
22 Matt PACOCHA USA 32 1:06:04
23 Spencer PAXSON USA 27 1:06:12
24 Jeremy FERGUSON USA 21 1:06:16
25 Cody KAISER USA 19 1:07:13
26 Justin ROBINSON USA 36 1:07:14
27 Jesse ANTHONY USA 26 1:07:15
28 Dave HACKWORTHY USA 22 1:07:20
29 Jack HINKENS USA 20 1:07:35
30 Brandon DWIGHT USA 40 1:07:37
31 Skyler TRUJILLO USA 19 1:08:13
32 Jake WELLS USA 33
33 Tim ALLEN USA 25
34 Eric EMSKY USA 20
35 Chris HURST USA 21
36 Alex HOWES USA 23
37 Frank SPITERI USA 25
38 Brad COLE USA 30
39 Spencer POWLISON USA 28
40 Robin ECKMANN GER 19
41 Steve FISHER USA 21
42 John CURRY USA 30
43 Mike SHERER USA 25
44 Shawn HARSHMAN USA 40
45 Chris BRANDT USA 37
46 Conor MULLERVY USA 23
47 Kevin MULLERVY USA 23
48 Doug JOHNSON USA 41
49 Colby PEARCE USA 39
50 Mathew ANKNEY USA 37
51 Caley FRETZ USA 23
52 Will ROSS USA 22
53 Joseph SCHMALZ USA 21
54 Scott TIETZEL USA 27
55 Ross HOLBROOK USA 28
56 James ARCHER USA 39
57 David BLOCK USA 20
58 Bryan MICKIEWICZ USA 37
59 Geoffrey NENNINGER USA 32
60 David SHEEK USA 40
61 Aaron BOUPLON USA 38
62 Casey HILL USA 32
63 Adam MILLS USA 32
64 William GAULT USA 40
65 Keith BATSTONE CAN 34
66 Nathan MILLER GBR 34
67 Lane MILLER USA 38

 

 

Cyclocross Magazine, Issue 22, Print and digital subscriptionsHave you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!
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