Katerina Nash at the start. © Thomas Van Bracht
by Chris Bagg
TABOR, CZECH REPUBLIC — Katie Compton was not present today at the second round of the UCI Cyclocross World Cup. Sanne Van Paassen (Brainwash), second in the WC standings after her runner-up spot last week, hoped to take advantage of the dominant American’s absence. When last we were here in 2010, Marianne Vos (Rabobank) rode away from the field on an icy, scary course. Today Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Cycling Team), third in Plzen last weekend, clearly wanted to take out the win from the lessened field at home. Nash is a fierce competitor, one of two women to beat Compton over the past two years on the cyclocross course, and was the favorite.
The course, hilly and long at 1.9 miles, featured a different parcours than when Tabor hosted the World Championships in 2010. Hanka Kupfernagel, back from a flu virus that took her off the start line last week, took the holeshot, but soon Helen Wyman (Kona) went to the front, taking advantage of the giant steps on the stairs, and had a group with her consisting of Daphny Van Den Brand (AA Drink), Kupfernagel, Van Paassen, Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea), and Nash. Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms) proved to be one of the early victims of the course, going over the side netting after a steep, greasy drop on which the women took it easy all day. She got back on but had dropped from her early good starting position.
“It was tough,” said Helen Wyman. “I didn’t feel quite right today. I managed to stay with the group for about two laps but made a couple of silly mistakes and they got away. But I didn’t feel great.”
As the women came through the start/finish for the first time, that front group had more than doubled in size to 14 riders. Nash looked the most comfortable, riding third wheel for most of the second lap as Sanne Cant (BBoxx) and Van Den Brand made a gap to the chasing group. The rest of the women refused to be distanced so early, however, and soon the group was all back together again. As soon as they came back together Nash attacked and brought Van Paassen and Van Den Brand with her. Lucy Lucie Chainel-Lefevre, wife of cyclocross and road racer Steve Chainel, fought to get back on terms as they came back through the start/finish and brought Kupfernagel with her, making the group at the front five strong. That effort to get back to the front seemed to be too much for Kupfernagel, though, because the pace soon dislodged her from the leading group. That group of four pushed the speed on the fast course, riding close to 25 kph for the third lap. Meredith Miller had recovered from her early mishap and rode her way back to Amy Dombroski’s wheel, part of a chasing group of six.
Back at the front the tough stairs proved to be the deciding factor on each lap, as Lucie Chainel-Lefevre struggled to stay with the other three leaders. Nash took advantage and attacked, gapping the French rider. Van Paassen took the next opportunity, seeing Van Den Brand in trouble, and she and Nash began to ride away with the race with about one-and-a-half laps to go. Van Den Brand fought back, using the pavement to rejoin the Czech and Dutch riders as they heard the bell. Nash again attacked at the top of those difficult stairs, and Van Paassen struggled to follow her wheel. Soon Nash had more than twenty meters, and the crowd surged to support their home racer. Van Den Brand finally attacked her countrywoman towards the end of the lap, but the two Dutch riders had left the chase too late, and Nash had close to six seconds. Van Paassen looked spent, and Van Den Brand left her to chase Nash alone. Pounding the pedals, Nash held her advantage to the end, winning in front of a home crowd. Van Den Brand took second, Van Paasen in third, Lucie Chainel-Lefevre in fourth, with Pavla Havlikova in fifth. Amy Dombroski and Meredith Miller worked together until the end, taking thirteenth and fourteenth places, respectively. After her absence, Katie Compton drops to 7th place overall in the World Cup standings.
Gallery- Thomas Van Bracht:
Gallery – Gregg Germer:
|2||Daphny VAN DEN BRAND||NED||34||40:05:00|
|3||Sanne VAN PAASSEN||NED||24||40:13:00|
|10||Sophie DE BOER||NED||22||41:30:00|
|18||Maureen BRUNO ROY||USA||37||42:11:00|
|20||Alice Maria ARZUFFI||ITA||18||42:18:00|
|22||Ellen VAN LOY||BEL||32||42:39:00|
|23||Tessa VAN NIEUWPOORT||NED||21||42:44:00|
|26||Linda VAN RIJEN||NED||24||43:24:00|
|29||Nicole DE BIE - LEYTEN||BEL||37||43:44:00|
|35||Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURG||DEN||24||45:43:00|