by Chris Bagg
HOOGERHEIDE, NETHERLANDS—In years past, Katie Compton (Giant-Rabobank) has rolled into the World Championships on a string of victories, only to miss out to Marianne Vos (Rabobank) at the the biggest race of the year. Vos has flipped the script thus far this year, however, and looks unbeatable going into next weekend’s championships in Koksijde, Belgium. Compton, on the other hand, has yet to rediscover the dominant form she has displayed in recent European campaigns.
Today’s race, contested on a muddy, grassy, hilly course under sunny skies, was at its closest at the start line, when Vos was still within arm’s reach of her competitors. The Dutch rider attacked from the start, though, nabbing the holeshot and quickly riding off the front of the chase. A nasty crash split the group within seconds of the gun, leaving Caroline Mani and Sophie de Boer (Telenet-Fidea) on the ground. An ambulance was soon on the scene to assist the two, who remained on the ground long after the accident.
Vos stretched her lead steadily over the course of the race, with a 30-second gap after two laps, 55 after three, and 1:19 after four. Behind a chase group of four contender formed, but to call them a chase group would be generous. Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink), Katerina Nash (Luna), Compton, and breakout racer Lucie Chainel-Lefevre attacked each other for the privilege to follow Vos across the finish line. Each had their moment of difficulty, with Compton going down hard on a descent following the start-finish, Nash crashing and letting Compton rejoin the group, and Van den Brand bobbling through the mud sections. By the end of the race the shuffling led to a second place finish for Van den Brand, who lost the World Cup lead on this last race of the season to Vos, third place for Nash, and a disappointed fourth place finish for Compton. Chainel-Lefevre slipped back over the course of the contest to finish fifth.
Other notable American finishes featured Meredith Miller (California Giant) taking an impressive 11th place, losing out in a sprint to Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea), and Nicole Duke rolling across the line in 18th.
Julie Krasniak, whom we profiled on Friday, took 15th.
Hoogerheide World Cup Elite Women 2012
|2||Daphny VAN DEN BRAND||NED||40:42:00|
|19||Linda VAN RIJEN||NED||43:54:00|
|31||Alice Maria ARZUFFI||ITA||45:52:00|
|36||Asa Maria ERLANDSSON||SWE||46:45:00|
|37||Kim VAN DE STEENE||BEL||46:49:00|
|44||Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURG||DEN|