USGP Women’s Final: Luna Teammates Battle for Win and Jersey – Full Report and Photos

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Nash is relieved with her big, solo win. ? Janet Hill Photos by Joe Sales and Janet Hill

Saturday’s women’s race demonstrated the importance of team tactics in cyclocross, as Rachel Lloyd (Cal Giant / Specialized) suffered from the 1-2 punch of the Luna teammates Katerina Nash and series leader Georgia Gould. On Sunday, the Luna racers put on another demonstration, only this time they showed that when a prestigious title is on the line, team tactics fly out the window and even teammates will throw down all the way to the end. Entering Sunday, either Gould or Nash would take the USGP title and jersey with a win, and so the gloves were off for the typically-collaborative Luna riders.

Entering Sunday, Sue Butler (MonavieCannondale.com) has had a season to remember and she hoped to add to the memories with a strong performance in front of her hometown crowd. She opened up her breakthrough season with a big UCI win at Star Crossed, and looked to tune her form and boost her confidence with nationals just a week away.

In the last year, Lloyd has had a lot of near-misses recently in ‘cross. At last year’s national championships, she rode to a strong second place behind Katie Compton, and took three second places this season at the Derby Cup and at both days in Boulder. After falling short again behind the Luna teammates on Saturday, Lloyd had extra motivation to get the big win that’s eluded her.

All four women knew a lot was riding on Sunday’s race. Little did each know that the first few hundred meters of the race would be key in achieving their goals.

To make things even more interesting, just an hour before their start the skies opened up, and the heavy rain would continue for most of the women’s race, turning the course into a greasy, treacherous adventure, not conducive to the pack riding that was prominent the day before.

Just after the gun sounded, Wendy Simms (Kona) grabbed the holeshot but Nash quickly took to the front, wanting to control her own race as the course dumped the riders into the slow, technical muddy motocross track just after the first run-up. She hit the turbo, with Wendy Simms (Kona) and Butler in tow. Behind, Gould had a slow start and got stuck behind traffic as the selection was being made at the front. And Lloyd, normally a fast starter, slipped a pedal at the gun, putting her behind a bunch of typically slower riders. Gould would quickly make her way through the pack and up to fourth within half a lap, but Lloyd would need the entire race to make it up to the same position.

pdx-usgp-day2-joe-sales-7363.jpg Just one lap in, Nash was off the front alone, and Gould was head-down, driving the chase down the long pavement stretch of her teammate. It didn’t matter that Butler and Simms were riding her draft – a prestigious title was on the line.

Gould shelled Simms, and then Butler, and was off in a three-lap solo pursuit of Nash. Nash would take some risks to stay ahead, and hit the deck twice. Flashbacks of her late-race collapse at the Mercer Cup day 1 race haunted her, but with each crash, she remounted quickly and kept her lead. Gould would never be able to close the gap created by her slow start.

Behind the two Luna riders, Butler kept up her inspired race, and turned her fast start into a crowd-pleasing and crowd-fueled ride that even surprised herself. “I knew I could get into the top 5, but anything can happen in cyclocross…I really wanted to podium in front of the home crowd,” she revealed. “So I put my head down and thought just give it. And when I saw Rachel wasn’t with us in the beginning, I thought, huh, that’s weird. And then it was just Wendy and I [behind Nash] and then I got in front of Wendy, and looked back and kept seeing her a little ways back, and I thought…huh? I knew I just better keep it smooth!” The Portland resident said it was “so much fun” racing to all the cheers, and hopes that she can have a good showing in Kansas City to qualify for and race the world championships again.

Despite her slow start, Lloyd didn’t give up either, and knows every race matters in her own quest to make the worlds team. Her twin sister in attendance, from Olympia, Washington cheering her on, and one by one, the Cal Giant rider picked off racers, catching Simms on the last lap and accelerating all the way to the finish, two minutes down on Nash but enough to grab third in the overall standings.

See also Men’s Report | Live Race Coverage Archive | Day 2 Early Report and Photos | Day 1 Report

Photo Gallery by Joe Sales:

Photo Gallery by Janet Hill:

Full Results:

Pos Bib U23 Name Team Nat Time
1 2 NASH Katerina Luna Women’S Mtb Team CZE 00:43:50
2 4 GOULD Georgia Luna USA 00:43:58
3 3 BUTLER Susan Monaviecannondale.Com USA 00:45:08
4 6 LLOYD Rachel California Giant Berry Farms USA 00:45:56
5 1 SIMMS Wendy Kona CAN 00:46:12
6 12 EMMETT Kelli Giant Bicycles USA 00:46:50
7 5 BRUNO ROY Maureen Mm Racing P/B Seven Cycles USA 00:46:58
8 7 * DOMBROSKI Amy Webcor/Alto Velo USA 00:47:32
9 20 MILLER Meredith California Giant Berry Farms USA 00:48:10
10 8 JACQUES-MAYNES Josie California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized USA 00:48:40
11 16 WILLIAMS Wendy River City Bicycle Team USA 00:48:54
12 19 VAN METER Emily River City Bicycle Team USA 00:49:08
13 10 HARLTON Pepper Juventus Cycling Club CAN 00:49:11
14 18 MAZZA Rhonda Team S&M/Sellwood Cycle Repair USA 00:49:47
15 13 HOWE Barbara Velo Bella USA 00:50:51
16 21 BERG Kristi Redline Bicycles USA 00:51:23
17 17 * RIVERA Coryn Kahala Lagrange USA 00:51:25
18 26 RILEY Jadine Team Group Health GBR 00:52:06
19 24 GUYNUP Joele Island Racing Club P/B Robert Cameron Law USA 00:52:35
20 15 STUDLEY Kari Velo Bella – Kona USA 00:54:00
21 22 GIBSON Shannon Velo Bella – Kona USA 00:54:19
22 23 STEWART Maria Velo Bella – Kona USA 00:55:46
23 14 SMILEY Marne USA -1 Lap
24 32 HOLDEN Shannon Velo Bello USA -1 Lap
25 28 MENSHER Joanna Gentle Lovers USA -1 Lap
26 30 MILLER Lianna Spike USA -2 Laps
27 27 MYSLIWIEC Angela Avanti/Ti Cycles Racing Team USA -2 Laps
DNF 31 PENNINGTON Alice USA DNF
DNS 9 ANDERSON Dawn Oak Bay Bikes/Everti CAN DNS
DNS 11 KERLIN Sarah Velo Bella – Kona USA DNS
DNS 25 GAERTNER Jennifer Team Bobs-Bicycles.Com USA DNS
DNS 29 GUNDERSEN Heather Veloshop USA DNS

 

 

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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