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:
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1 Katerina NASH CZE 35 39:59:00 2 Daphny VAN DEN BRAND NED 34 40:05:00 3 Sanne VAN PAASSEN NED 24 40:13:00 4 Lucie CHAINEL-LEFEVRE FRA 29 40:41:00 5 Pavla HAVLIKOVA CZE 29 40:56:00 6 Hanka KUPFERNAGEL GER 38 41:00:00 7 Sabrina SCHWEIZER GER 22 41:10:00 8 Helen WYMAN GBR 31 41:18:00 9 Sanne CANT BEL 22 41:21:00 10 Sophie DE BOER NED 22 41:30:00 11 Arenda GRIMBERG NED 34 41:36:00 12 Sabrina STULTIENS NED 19 41:36:00 13 Amy DOMBROSKI USA 25 41:54:00 14 Meredith MILLER USA 39 41:58:00 15 Martina MIKULASKOVA CZE 19 42:03:00 16 Gabriella DAY GBR 28 42:05:00 17 Nicole DUKE USA 38 42:05:00 18 Maureen BRUNO ROY USA 37 42:11:00 19 Joyce VANDERBEKEN BEL 28 42:17:00 20 Alice Maria ARZUFFI ITA 18 42:18:00 21 Nikki HARRIS GBR 26 42:20:00 22 Ellen VAN LOY BEL 32 42:39:00 23 Tessa VAN NIEUWPOORT NED 21 42:44:00 24 Julie KRASNIAK NED 24 43:04:00 25 Nikoline HANSEN DEN 25 43:05:00 26 Linda VAN RIJEN NED 24 43:24:00 27 Annefleur KALVENHAAR NED 18 43:29:00 28 Hilde QUINTENS BEL 48 43:30:00 29 Nicole DE BIE - LEYTEN BEL 37 43:44:00 30 Vania ROSSI ITA 29 43:58:00 31 Katherine SHERWIN USA 39 44:06:00 32 Nancy BOBER BEL 37 45:10:00 33 Christine VARDAROS USA 43 45:19:00 34 Dorota WARCZYK POL 37 45:42:00 35 Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURG DEN 24 45:43:00 36 Pavlina SULCOVA CZE 26 45:44:00 37 Nikola HLUBINKOVA CZE 18 46:16:00 38 Vicki THOMAS CAN 40 46:52:00 39 Vendula KUNTOVA CZE 19 47:56:00 40 Madara FURMANE LAT 20