TABOR, CZECH REPUBLIC – Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) took over as the new points leader in the Elite Women’s field while Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) won his second in as many series’ races at the UCI World Cup in Tabor.
It was a great day for the American women with three U.S. riders placing in the top ten including Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) with an impressive sixth place finish, and Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) taking ninth.
Marriane Vos (Rabobank-Liv/giant) was notably absent from Tabor, leaving it up to the remaining heavy-hitters to duel it out on the very fast course. The surprisingly warm 62 degree weather contributed to the speed, keeping the grass-heavy race dry with the exception of one corner in particular that claimed several victims in the men’s field including World Champion, Sven Nys (Crelan KDY cycling Team).
The women took to the course first with Nikki Harris (Telenet Fidea) taking the holeshot and leading through lap one, pushing the pace and forcing the first round of selection. On the second lap, Compton turned on the gas, taking the lead. Although Harris and teammate Pavla Havlikova worked together to pull her back, at one point momentarily bridging the gap, Compton proved the strongest. In the last lap Compton was forced to run a hill after the stairs but held her lead finishing six seconds over Harris.
Havlikova rounded out the podium while Sanne Cant (Enerthem-BKCP), who was by herself in fourth position for much of the race, was overtaken in the final meters by Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Faren Kuota), in her last World Cup race before retiring in November.
Cyclocross World Cup Tabor 2013 Women – FINAL LAP
“It reminds me of U.S. racing. The terrain and course were similar. I attacked early and was able to maintain it but I was really feeling it,” Compton explained. “The downhill I was getting a little time each lap. I had just enough gap to have to stay on the pedals the whole time.”
As for her season overall? “I want to win the overall again, that’s my goal. I like being consistent and being on the podium a lot.”
In the men’s race, last week’s winner Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development Team) managed his second World Cup win in a dramatic sprint finish against Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus). The duo rode together nearly the entire race after separating themselves from the rest of the field in lap two.
The decisive spit took shape on the barriers when Walsleben, opting to stay on his bike, jumped the obstacles allowing him to move up to van der Haar who was then at the front of the field. By the time the two riders had moved through the subsequent chicane they had a six second advantage.
Playing to their favor was the fact that no one from the group of about 15 riders behind seemed immediately willing to lead the chase and by lap three the lead had grown to 21 seconds. Meanwhile, the slippery corner that seemed to have softened as the day progressed claimed Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team) as its first victim.
The fall, however, did not stop Pauwels from taking up the charge on the next lap, moving into third position just van der Haar and then moments later Nys would become themselves victims of the slippery section of the course.
In Van der Haar’s case several seconds were lost when his bike became entangled in a cable on the side of the course allowing Walsleben to solo ahead. It looked as though it might be Walsleben’s day but Van der Haar put in an impressive effort, keeping Pauwels at bay and closing the gap to the leader by the beginning of lap five.
With the two well ahead of the rest of the field, it was a race for third. Francis Mourey (FDJ.fr) put in some hard efforts, overtaking Pauwels at one point with a comfortable lead. An unfortunate mechanical, however, allowed Pauwels and teammate Klaas Vantornout to capture Mourey with Pauwels eventually pulling through to finish ahead. Mourney and Vantornut crossed the line in fourth and fifth respectively.
Nys was struggling to keep up noticeably after the crash, eventually finishing well down for the day. His bad luck was a continuation of last week’s flat tire and broken chain that forced him to abandon the opening round of the World Cup in Valkenberg.
Cyclocross World Cup Tabor 2013 Men – FINAL LAP
In his first season in the U23 ranks, Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) placed 21st in the U23 men’s race (the same placing from Valkenburg) as the top American. Owen was two minutes and 34 seconds off the winning pace of Dutchman Mathiew Van der Poel while Gianna Vermeersch (BEL) and Wout Van Aert (BEL) were second and third. Americans Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) and Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) finished 31st and 36th respectively.
In the junior men’s race, Adam Toupalik (CZE), Eli Iserbyt (BEL) and Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED) were the top three finishers while American Maxx Chance (Boulder, Colo./Clif Bar Development Cyclocross Team) was 36th, four minutes and two seconds off of Toupalik’s winning pace.