by Kyle Moore
Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek/Knight Composites) and Kaitie Keough (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) sewed up a banner day for the American contingent at the UCI Cyclocross World Cup race in Nommay, France on Sunday. Both made the trip back to Europe after the American national championships in Reno, Nevada last weekend, and Compton put her Stars and Stripes jersey — the same jersey she has owned for 14 consecutive years — on display yet again in Nommay.
For Compton, it was her first World Cup race win since Waterloo in 2016. She showed no ill affects from a week of travel. After losing ground in the opening sprint, Compton was quickly back toward the front, exhibiting her love of mud as soon as the race got off the pavement. The American champ powered through the muddy sections of the Nommay course quicker than the rest of the field.
"I felt good warming up, which is weird for me after travel, when I don’t usually have good legs" said Compton had her win. "I had a gap at the beginning, so I went with it."
Keough headed to Nommay looking to put last Sunday's disappointing third at Reno Nationals behind her. Today, she left her bad legs in the desert and used a hard charge over the second half of the race to consolidate second place, giving herself a larger gap in the runner-up spot in the World Cup overall with just Hoogerheide left to race.
Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Canyon-Sram Racing) delighted the home crowd with a third place finish, which the French star achieved by gradually moving up through the top ten throughout the race.
Compton also had the advantage of catching world champ and World Cup leader Sanne Cant (Correndon-Circus) on an off-day. Though her overall lead in the World Cup standings now seems unassailable, Cant could manage just 12th place in Nommay.
Compton Takes Off In the Mud
After the flag dropped, Eva Lechner (Clif Pro Team) and Ellen Van Loy (Telenet Fidea Lions) led into a sharp left-hander and up a flight of stairs. Compton, who had gotten washed back to the third line in the opening sprint, recovered quickly and in a moment of foreshadowing, gave the Americans a double presence at the front, paired with a hot start by Elle Anderson.
In yet more foreshadowing, Compton opened a 10-meter lead through a series of mud stretches. Loes Sels (Crelan-Charles) slid out on a muddy left-hander and caught up a number of riders behind her, including Lechner, Ferrand-Prevot, Maud Kapteuns (Crelan-Charles), and Keough.
Behind Compton and Alice Arzuffi (Steylaerts-Betfirst), who established herself solo in second, Helen Wyman (Xypex-Verge Sport) was piloting a chasing group that included Van Loy, Cant, and Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans). Cant then lost time and her chasing group when her chain dropped as she remounted after a running section. It took the World Champ several moments to get it realigned, and she pitted back in the midst of the field.
When Compton hit the line to finish her first lap in exactly nine minutes, she already had a 18-second lead on Arzuffi. The American champ’s impressive early gap was evident on a long strightaway shot, which Compton had exited before Arzuffi entered. Wyman lurked just behind Arzuffi, with Majerus and Keough, who was moving up well. Cant was still outside the top ten, after a number of her challengers had struggled though the mud, back with Ferrand-Prevot and Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (Correndon-Circus).
Compton knocked seven seconds off her lap time as lap two completed, showing her mastery of the mud and her desire to deliver a knockout blow in the first half of the 45-minute race. Arzuffi was now more than half a minute back, and Keough was firmly in third place, at 41 seconds behind. Wyman, who had never been able to fully track down Arzuffi, was still alone in fourth, ahead of Majerus. Ferrand-Prevot was gradually moving into into the top ten, but Cant was not. The World Cup leader trailed by over a minute to Compton, outside the top ten with two laps done.
Keough Puts Americans to the Fore
Four minutes into the third lap, Keough passed Arzuffi. The American, who finished in third place at the American national championships behind Compton and Ellen Noble, continued to slice into Cant’s overall lead in the World Cup standings, as she entered the day in second place. Up ahead, Compton wasn’t skipping a single opportunity to hit the pits to keep the sticky Nommay mud at bay.
Consistency was the key for Compton, who crossed the line to complete lap three just a few ticks under 27 minutes, and consistently on her nine-minute pace. Her buffer on second place continued to grow. Keough was 48 seconds back, with Arzuffi at 58, and then it was Majerus and Wyman at over a minute. Ferrand-Prevot injected a buzz into the crowd on the finish stretch, as her work on lap three brought her up to sixth place. Cant, meanwhile, labored in 12th, well over a minute back by now.
Early on lap four, Arzuffi was next to cash out. The little Italian labored through a muddy stretch in fifth place, with Wyman and Majerus now ahead of her. She recovered somewhat after the arrival of Ferrand-Prevot at her wheel, and when Wyman washed out at the base of an uphill, she hung up Majerus and allowed Arzuffi and Ferrand-Prevot to reattach, but the Frenchwoman used the opportunity to take fourth place for herself.
Compton remained picture perfect as she took the bell for her final lap. Two seconds shy of the 36-minute mark, the reliable American was a ticking clock with her nine-minute pace. Keough had found her own groove as well, stopping the gap to Compton at 45 seconds and adding to her advantage over third place.
The battle for third was where the day’s best race was taking place. Ferrand-Prevot, Majerus, and Wyman traded blows for the first part of the final lap. Ahead, Compton dug her way up a sticky run-up, and picked her lines through the mud downhill in pristine fashion. She took polite applause from the French crowd as she turned in to the final stretch and crossed the line in 45:03 with her first World Cup win of the season after several podiums.
Keough finished second, a half-minute clear of Ferrand-Prevot, who had won the battle for third. Wyman and Majerus sprinted for fourth, with the British champ coming in ahead of the Luxembourg champ.
"Some days it’s good to have a gap," Compton said of her solo day out at the finish. "I like the mud. My tire pressure was good, so it was a good race. I made some mistakes here and there, but it’s hard not to when it’s that slippery."
Maghalie Rochette (Clif Pro Team) finished 18th, Elle Anderson (Milwaukee - Alpha Motorhomes) 22nd, Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (SAS Macogep Aquisio) 32nd, Ruby West (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld) 33rd, Rebecca Fahringer (Stan's NoTubes p/b Maxxis/gofahr) 35th, Beth Ann Orton (Team S&M CX) 40th, Magdeleine Valleries Mill 45th, Corey Coogan Cisek (The Fix Studio) 4th, Siobhan Kelly 50th and Christine Vardaros in 52.
Full 2018 Nommay UCI Cyclocross World Cup photo gallery below the results.
Women's Results: 2018 World Cup Nommay
|Rank||Bib||Last Name||First Name||Country||Result|
|17||34||DEL CARMEN ALVARADO||Ceylin||NED||0:48:34|
|26||36||VAN DER HEIJDEN||Inge||NED||0:49:37|