Katie Compton took the win ahead of Nash at Day One of the Derby Cup. © Amanda Wakeling

Katie Compton took the win ahead of Nash at Day One of the Derby Cup. © Amanda Wakeling

by Grant Berry

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – On a difficult course that offered little opportunity for rest, Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) once again showed her dominance by riding away with the victory. Behind her, USGP Series leader Katerina Nash traded blows with French national champion Caroline Mani until a late-race crash took Mani out of contention for the podium. Nineteen-year-old Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) stormed after Nash, giving furious chase and earning herself the third and final spot on the Elite Women’s podium, coming in just seven seconds behind Nash.

Nicole Duke (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) is getting quite the reputation as a holeshot specialist, and Day 1 of the Derby City Cup was no different than the many other races that she has led out this season. Hot on Duke’s wheel was French champion Caroline Mani (CC Etupes), followed by Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) and series leader Katerina Nash (Luna Chix).

Duke would not stay at the front long, and Mani was first to take over the lead. As the group exited the woods towards the end of the lap, Compton hit the front and opened up a small gap. After looking back and seeing daylight between herself and her competition, she put her head down and went to work.

“I just went with it because a little gap opened up, and on a course like this with the wind, drafting makes a big difference,” she said. “If I’m doing the work at the front, they should have to do some work too, so I figured I’d make them chase.”

By the end of lap two, Compton had a 15 second gap over Mani and Nash. The second chase group containing Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom), Antonneau and Duke was another 10 seconds in arrears.

As Compton passed under the start/finish banner on lap three, her gap had grown to 30 seconds and it was beginning to become clear that the race on course was for second place. As Nash and Mani were trading spots around the course, Antonneau was making up time and riding especially smooth on the technical and demanding course. She was followed by a surging Chloe Forsman (Crank Brothers Club 11) and Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms).

“I made a lot of mistakes the first two laps,” Antonneau said. “But I’d rather make them there than at the finish. The course was really fast.”

With one to go, Compton’s lead had stabilized at 35 seconds, and all eyes were on who might occupy the remaining two steps of the podium. Nash and Mani looked as though they were going to take it to the line, but then Mani hit the ground in the woods. Mani crumpled to the ground in pain after her race , paying special attention to her right wrist, although she said she didn’t think it was broken. “I know what that feels like,” she said.

As Mani was dusting herself off and checking her bike over for damage, Nash hit the gas and Mani was also passed by Antonneau for third place. This is how they would stay to the finish, with Compton taking the win, Nash holding on to second to keep the series leader’s jersey, and 19-year-old U23 national champion Antonneau coming across the line in third for her best race yet.

“I am so excited … this is my best race by far, and my goal is to make it back here for Worlds in 2013. I really don’t know what to say!” Antonneau beamed.

As it turns out, Mani was not the only rider towards the front of the bike race to experience drama. Nash explained, “I remounted a little too late over the flyover, and I broke my seat. Luckily the pits were right there, so I could get a quick bike change. Completely my fault, but it was not going to be my day today anyway. I got a little sick yesterday, so I am really happy with second today.”

After winning, Compton explained her strategy, or lack thereof: “I wasn’t necessarily planning to do it that way today, but I felt good and it is so easy to make a mistake out there and lose 20 or 30 seconds. I wanted to make sure I gave myself the best chance to do well on the big money day!”

Mical Dyck, who finished ninth, described the course: “It went through a twisty wooded section, out through rough grassy field, through the sand pit, back into the trees section near the end of the course (where all the climbing was), one final steep descent, turn around and run up the last climb and back out onto the start/finish pavement. It is easily one of the funnest and hardest courses around. Nowhere out there to hide, and nowhere out there to rest!” Find out more about Dyck’s race in her Rider Diary.

Read about Powers’ win in the men’s race here.

Results below the gallery

2011 USGP Derby City Day 1 Women

PlaceNameTeam TimeGap
1COMPTON KatherineRabobank45:11:00
2NASH KaterinaLuna Pro Team45:42:0031
3ANTONNEAU KaitlinCannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c45:52:0041
4MANI Caroline46:16:001:05
5FORSMAN ChloeCrankbrothers Race Club 1146:30:001:19
6VAN GILDER LauraC3 pb Mellow Mushroom46:31:00s.t.
7MILLER MeredithCalifornia Giant Cycling46:45:001:34
8DUKE NicoleCannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c46:56:001:45
9DYCK MicalPro City Racing47:25:002:14
10SMITH AndreaLadiesFirst Racing47:31:002:20
11GOULD GeorgiaLuna Pro Team47:36:002:25
12BUTLER SueRiver City Bicycles/Ridley47:40:002:29
13HARLTON PepperJuventus Cycling Club47:46:002:35
14SHERWIN KatherineStan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross48:10:002:59
15CAREY AmandaKenda/Felt48:10:00s.t.
16RIVERA CoryneMarian University48:15:003:04
17THIEMANN NicoleTeam CF48:24:003:13
18BRUNO ROY MaureenBob's Red Mill pb Seven Cycles48:34:003:23
19ANTHONY CrystalLadiesFirst Racing48:41:003:30
20GORRY DevonRambuski Law48:53:003:42
21STETSON-LEE TealCalifornia Giant Berry Farms/Sp48:56:003:45
22KRASNIAK JulieRapha-Focus49:03:003:52
23PENNINGTON AliceTeam S&M49:06:003:55
24BINGHAM KelsyRoosters/Bikers Edge49:44:004:33
25MAILE SarahVentana Mountain Bikes50:10:004:59
26GROSS RebeccaTOUGH GIRL50:16:005:05
27BLATT RebeccaTeam Kenda presented by Geargri50:29:005:18
28DALLAIRE AnnajeanRacin' for Riley p/b Alderfer B50:40:005:29
29THURSTON EmilySTEVENS50:55:005:44
30MAXWELL JenniferVanDessel Factory Team pb Sterk50:59:005:48
31STUDLEY KariTeam Redline51:04:005:53
32FLYNN KimberlyUSSC-Trek p/b Vantaggio51:07:005:56
33STEWART Sarah51:11:006:00
34GAERTNER JenniRaleigh America51:36:006:25
35SONE LindaCycle-Smart/Flanders51:44:006:33
36ARNOLD KatieEchelon Cycling Team51:53:006:42
37HUANG SarahNova IS Corp51:53:00s.t.
38OSBORNE CorrieIsCorp52:01:006:50
39GILBERT SunnyBig Shark/ Michelob Ultra52:25:007:14
40JAMES AshleyKCCX Elite52:37:007:26
41LONG MelanieTough Girl / SCOTT52:47:007:36
42BENJAMIN KellyColavita/Forno d'Asolo53:08:00s.t.
43BAUMSTEIGER KatrinaTeam Rambuski Law53:12:008:01
45COOGAN CISEK CoreyTeam Plan C PB Stevens53:23:008:12
46SMILEY MarneBob's Red Mill Cyclocross53:52:008:41
47ROSZKO / Joe's Garage53:58:008:47
48GIBSON ShannonStan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross54:09:008:58
49BUSH LynnTough Girl / SCOTT54:33:009:22
50BURKS PaulaUS Stove / Vanatggio fitness54:50:009:39
51DINGMAN AnnaCycleution55:00:009:49
52COBB ElizabethBikereg.com56:21:0011:10
53DOWD Patricia@1Lap
DNFKOROL MeghanBob's Red Mill Cyclocross
DNFDIMPEL CourtneyTeam Rambuski Law