no one assumed she would be one of the names shouted by Fries in the closing laps of the race, but there was nothing unassuming about her ride, as the Optum Pro Cycling rider latched on to Duke’s wheel on the final lap, and the battle for silver took a new turn.
“My biggest worry was my [technical] skills,” Wilcoxson said. “But I think the fact that it was a slower course worked to my advantage because I could take it slow and pick my lines.”
As Compton came in for victory, wiped her face and hugged her husband, surrounded by cameras, Duke and Wilcoxson exited the woods together and turned onto the finishing straight. Duke, a former downhill mountain biker, was no match for the road sprinter. Wilcoxson revved the engine, dropped the clutch, and burned into the books. Duke, holding the tops of her bars, looked back to make sure her third place was secure, and pedaled in for her second bronze medal in two years.
A few moments later, Gould – who after a shaky first two laps began finding her legs and fast lines, picking up riders and making up time – finished in fourth with Anthony in fifth and Miller in sixth.
“It took me until the end to figure out what I was doing out there,” said Gould a few minutes after the race as she pounded warmth back into her hands. “I have no business being on the podium today, the way I was riding. Terrible. I could not get out of my own way the first few laps. You know it’s bad when people are yelling, ‘Little by little,’ or, ‘Hang in there!’ The crowds were so awesome. If it was fan-driven, I would have lapped everybody!”
The Crown Sits Light
But all this came after Katie Compton crossed the line, hands in the air, her domination of American ’cross secure for another year. Compton was visibly satisfied and relieved with her win. “It was such a technical course, the gears were freezing, the brakes were starting to freeze, but my pit crew was awesome.” she said. “For me, it was just a matter of keeping smooth. My prep has been better than it ever has. I’m super excited to win the World Cup this year, and Worlds is just icing on the cake.”
“You can’t train through Nationals,” she continued. “It’s very special to me. I want to win. I don’t want to come in overconfident and a little tired and get beat.”
Compton was riding some interesting coated carbon rims today, and she was quick to praise the benefits of her yet-to-be-released Bontrager Aeolus rims. “I’ve got some extreme condition wheels,” she said. “They were really good, the braking surface is kind of like sandpaper, so the brakes work really well in all conditions. I was really happy with them.” [See a profile of Katie Compton’s National Championship-winning Trek Ion Prototype cyclocross bike.]
Interview with Katie Compton:
[youtube 3yYZilsOwRI 580 380]
Interview with Jade Wilcoxson:
[youtube QvqiVgagePI 580 380]
Interview with Nicole Duke:
[youtube 0H3zB574L3E 580 380]
Interview with Georgia Gould:
[youtube fbjlGMUenmo 580 380]
Interview with Kaitie Antonneau:
[youtube bUAm3uzPE8A 580 380]
Elite Women – 2013 Cyclocross National Championships Photo Galleries:
photos by Meg McMahon:
photos by Focal Flame Photography:
Full results from the Elite Women’s 2013 Cyclocross National Championships on the following page