NAMUR, Belgium – Katerina Nash (Luna Pro) powered her way to the win at the 2014 World Cup in Namur, finishing 34 seconds ahead of World Champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv Team). American Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) took third, crossing the line 1:07 down on Nash.
Eva Lechner (Team Colnago Sudtirol) took to the front of the race early on, opening a small gap in the first lap. Vos soon bridged to Lechner, passing the Italian rider before a steep run-up mid-course.
The British riders had more than their fair share of bad luck in Namur. Hannah Payton struggled with a chain drop in the early goings. Less than a lap later, Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) punctured her tire right after the pits and was forced to run, sending her to last place.
It was the first cyclocross race this season for Vos who reportedly was hoping to use the race to gauge her fitness. It seemed Vos might run away with the race but Nash, emerging from the group of chasers, came into form, dieseling her way to close the gap to Vos by the fourth lap. Nash was able to overcome crashing into the mesh fencing at the side of the course, not only recovering well but putting digs into Vos’ lead.
Compton, after her customary slow start, moved into third position but could not erase the advantage laid down by the early charge from Vos.
Nash, riding comfortably and maintaining momentum, tested Vos who appeared to struggle on the small power climbs. The national champion for the Czech Republic increased the gap each time she rode up steep grades and committed to a run.
It appeared to be too much too early for Vos as she was unable to hold Nash’s wheel and looked fatigued. On the broadcast, you could even hear her gasping for more breath on the technical ascents. For the final few laps, she seemed to only be able to outmatch Nash on the pavement sections, which were few and far between. When a rut in the mud sent her wheel to the right, and she got caught up in the netting, it looked like her chance for first had faded. Nash continued the assault and increased the gap all the way to the finish.
Compton, meanwhile, was caught alone in third, with a distant Ellen Van Loy (Telenet-Fidea) having the smallest of hopes of attempting to bridge up to her, and after a crash on the off-camber descent, even that small hope was dashed. Compton crossed the line with Van Loy following in fourth.
Further back, World Cup leader Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP), appearing to have not fully recovered from yesterday’s Bpost Bank Trofee race, salvaged the day finishing sixth, 2:07 down on the leader. Her final lap was one of the better ones on the day as she struggled to get her legs involved in the climbs and was forced to use her upper body to push forward while the riders around her pressed on more smoothly.
Cant’s placing allows her to retain the leader’s jersey, one point ahead of Compton going into round five.
Helen Wyman (Kona) made the top-ten, finishing ninth on the day. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) was the second-finishing American, crossing the line at 17th, with Erica Zaveta (Amy D. Foundation) coming in close behind in 20th. Crystal Anthony (Optum) followed in for 22nd with Arley Kemmerer (PB2) placing 26th. Libby White (University of Vermont) was caught up in the early chaos, and finished 52nd in a European course that must have presented many great lessons for the young American with a big future ahead.
2014 Women's World Cup Event at Namur
|4||Ellen VAN LOY||BEL||34||46:02:00|
|5||Pauline FERRAND PREVOT||FRA||22||46:07:00|
|13||Sophie DE BOER||NED||24||48:16:00|
|14||Alice Maria ARZUFFI||ITA||20||48:45:00|
|18||Sanne VAN PAASSEN||NED||26||49:39:00|
|24||Aida NUNO PALACIO||ESP||31||50:39:00|
|32||Bianca VAN DEN HOEK||NED||38||51:53:00|
|35||Asa Maria ERLANDSSON||SWE||40||52:22:00|
|37||Mercedes PACIOS PUJADO||ESP||31||52:41:00|
|53||Margriet Helena KLOPPENBURG||DEN||26|