They say that father knows best, but on Friday at the Trek CX Cup C2, Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing CX) found her dad’s advice tough to follow.
Racing in her first cyclocross race with the new Trek Factory Racing CX team, Richards stayed patient as Van Loy broke the lead group apart on a windy, overcast afternoon in Wisconsin during the first half of the race. At the midway point of Friday’s affair, it was Trek athletes Richards, Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions) and Ellen Noble (Trek Factory Racing CX) in the lead group.
Inside three to go, Richards took charge with a big attack. Richards’ attack drew out Noble and the two mountain bike and now cyclocross teammates were alone at the front.
Richards attacked again at the end of Lap 4 and created separation between her and Noble. She would hold the lead to take the C2 win.
“My dad was telling me to try to be tactical, but I just decided to go for it like my usual technique,” Richards said. “Luckily it paid off, and I was able to stay away. I knew it was going to be a risk, but I didn’t really know where to go, so it just came into my head and I went.”
Van Loy Drives the Train
Ellen Van Loy will be the first to admit she loves driving the pace early in a cyclocross race, and on Friday in Waterloo her plan was no different.
Van Loy took the holeshot and powered out onto the early climbs of the ridge on the Trek property. Nagengast followed close behind while the Richards and Noble lined up behind.
Halfway into the first lap, Van Loy’s relentless driving had already created the first selection that included her, Nagengast, Noble, Richards, Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek Knight) and Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld).
Despite stiff headwinds blowing on the cool, overcast afternoon, Van Loy was content to drive the pace at the front. Near the end of the second of six laps, her pace took its toll on half the front six as Compton and Keough dropped off and then had to push to re-join the group.
Midway through the race, the front group finally split. Friday’s selection was Van Loy, Noble and Richards. Three Trek athletes looking for the win at Trek.
Richards Takes Over
If Richards did have a plan, it was to ride as hard as she could. Midway through Lap 4, she pulled to the front and dared Noble and Van Loy to chase her. Only Noble could keep Richards’ blistering pace, and the lead selection was down to the two mountain bike and now cyclocross teammates with a little over two laps to go.
Richards cleared the Trek Factory Hill, but Noble took a spill on the steep incline. The gap gave Richards almost 10 seconds on her teammate with just two laps to go.
The state of affairs at the front of the race stayed static for the last two laps. Noble appeared to close the gap a few times, but everytime her teammate surged, Richards responded with an effort of her own.
“When we do efforts at home, there’s Liam who tells us to just keep going hard, so I just imagined it was one of those efforts and kept pushing on and hoping no one would catch me,” Richards said about her two solo laps at the front. “I did know everyone was suffering because I was suffering as well.”
Richards took the win, and Noble followed for a one-two Trek Factory Racing afternoon.
“It’s super fun to be racing at the Trek Factory as a Trek athlete,” Noble said. “There was a lot of good energy, and it’s only going to get crazier from here. I had a couple of mistakes out there, but honestly, I feel really good.”
Van Loy kept her spot to take third.
Keough finished 4th, Elle Anderson Milwaukee Alpha Motor Homes), Sunny Gilbert (Van Dessel Factory Team) 9th and Raylyn Nuss (Maplewood Bicycle) 10th to round out U.S. riders in the top 10. Compton dropped out of the race due to allergies exacerbated by the windy conditions.
Full results, a photo gallery and interviews are below.
Photos by Dave Mable and Robert Clark.
Podium Interviews: 2018 Women’s Trek CX Cup
Photo Gallery: 2018 Women’s Trek CX Cup