Cyclocross season isn’t quite over in a few parts of the Northern Hemisphere, with a cyclocross series ending today in Redding, California, another ending next Sunday in Fairfield, California, and two UCI C1 races this weekend in Belgium with Saturday’s Soudal Classics Leuven and Sunday’s Internationale Sluitingsprijs Oostmalle.

In the final race of the Soudal Classic series, Katie Compton toed the line sporting the number one. Sanne Cant, who took second to Sophie de Boer last year, and has been the most pursued lady this year, did not start today at Leuven. Compton has recently said that she’ll be focusing on a Euro tour next year, and her coming across the line first at Leuven should send shivers up European ‘crossers spines.

Van Loy, the holeshot master, took the early lead, as she has in so many races this year. Compton toyed with taking the lead back from Van Loy fairly early, coming out of the steep run-ups, but Van Loy made her move back to the front as the rode rose punishingly into the start/finish. Van Loy has had a series of disappointing finishes this year, always starting strong, only for her lead to be dashed by Cant or De Boer.

The Leuven course is notoriously techy, featuring a small hill with an clearly worn in line and lower fence-side line, leading into the three super-steep run-ups that appeared impossible to power up on 1x drivetrains. Ditches and barriers are sprinkled throughout, giving technically-skilled riders a serious advantage.

Katie Comtpon and Ellen van Loy tackle the 2017 Soudal Classics Leuven course.

Katie Comtpon and Ellen van Loy tackle the 2017 Soudal Classics Leuven course.

Course conditions were primo, tacky and burning in quickly. and actually looked a bit dry as the racers hit the steep, windy run-ups, one of which caught Alicia Franck off-guard. A fluorescent orange rock stuck out of the off-camber, and a slight stalled-out bobble turned Franck on her side and under the fencing, stuck clipped into her Ridley X-Night.

A long slightly uphill paved section had the lead three shuffling for position, Van Loy smiling as she glanced over at Compton and De Boer. “You never know, halfway through, good legs can turn bad,” said Compton in a post-race interview, but clearly that wasn’t the case for her today.

Compton secured her lead on the second of the steep climbs, as Van Loy unclipped late and stalled out, keeping De Boer back with her. Van Loy looked determined on the long “straight” that wound idyllically through the woods, but by the third lap, Compton had over five seconds on Van Loy and De Boer, and had memorized the power necessary to make it up the steep run-up. She threw her Nationals-winning Trek Boone, now featuring red bar tape, into her smallest gear to muscle up two of the three. Van Loy and De Boer were out of the saddle through the cut ditches, powering to catch up, but Compton had widened the gap, lapping riders at this point.

Meanwhile, life partner, mechanic, and coach, Mark Legg, seemed to be enjoying himself, celebrating the final weekend of UCI Cyclocross (although many will race tomorrow in Oostmalle).

Van Loy had allowed De Boer to take the lead on the pavement, but attempted to attack before the leaf-coated course began, only for De Boer to kick it into overdrive and show a surge of energy, even making it up the first steep without dismounting.

Alicia Franck was hard-charging, out of the saddle of her Ridley X-Night, hammering to catch up with Van Loy, who De Boer had gapped expertly, her long-sleeve skinsuit unzipped as the sun came out in Leuven.

Sophie de Boer was over 20 seconds back from Compton on the finishing straight, and as she passed under a banner with her name, a fan popped streamers straight at her. She ducked, then laughed at the silliness of it, and seemed in high spirits during her interview.

Compton said in our interview last weekend that she’s “looking forward to going home and seeing her dog, going skiing and seeing her girlfriends and having some downtime.”

Looks like she’ll be doing all that while riding a high from her win in Leuven.

Cyclocross racing wasn’t the only news coming from Leuven, unfortunately, as a train derailed in the city  shortly after the race, killing one passenger and injuring 20. Our thoughts are with those impacted by the accident.

Stay tuned for results and a report from the 2017 Soudal Classics Leuven men’s race.

Full results below the video highlights.

2017 Soudal Classics Leuven Women’s Race Video Highlights:

2017 Soudal Classics Leuven Results - Elite Women

1Katherine COMPTONUSA3940:17:0080
2Sophie DE BOERNED2740:39:0060
3Ellen VAN LOYBEL3740:45:0040
4Alicia FRANCKBEL2340:56:0030
5Loes SELSBEL3241:22:0025
6Joyce VANDERBEKENBEL3342:08:0020
7Karen VERHESTRAETENBEL2642:24:0017
8Denise BETSEMANED2442:43:0015
9Pauline DELHAYEFRA2843:06:0012
10Lindy VAN ANROOIJNED2143:39:0010
11Suzanne VERHOEVENBEL2144:09:008
12Kim VAN DE STEENEBEL3144:17:006
13Stefanie PAULGER3144:20:004
14Veerle GOOSSENSNED2444:25:002
15Esther VAN DER BURGNED1944:26:001
16Geerte HOEKENED2744:39:00
17Jinse PEETERSBEL1845:48:00
18Kristien NELENBEL3946:34:00
25Katharina HINZGER20