The women's podium. © Rick Mace

The women's podium. © Rick Mace

by Grant Berry

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY – It’s been an interesting weekend for the women of cyclocross, to say the least. Katie Compton took a definitive lead over Katerina Nash in the USGP series overall lead, 19-year-old Kaitlin Antonneau surprised the world with not one, but two podium finishes, and Georgia Gould’s “heckle me” campaign had the cyclocross community in stitches all weekend.

Meredith Miller (Cal Giant Berry Farms) got the party started in Women’s race by grabbing the holeshot with authority. She led the field around the course, up and over the extra steep flyover until bobbling in the sand with Katie Compton (Rabobank–Giant) on her wheel. Katie immediately seized the opportunity, and opened up a gap on the rest of her competition before the first lap was even over.

“Sand pits are tough, and it’s so easy to make a mistake,” explained Compton in the post race press conference. “Since I was following somebody in, I made sure that I had an out in case something happened … and sure enough, I needed that out. I was able to get around and kind of pedal through it and I think that’s where I got a little bit of a gap and just stayed on it.”

The World Cup winner had a five bike length lead as she passed under the start/finish banner to begin the second lap, as Katerina Nash (Luna) and Nicole Duke (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld) chased hard and made contact before the flyover. Meredith Miller was alone and chasing, and behind her, Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld) also forged her way through the wind solo. Sue Butler (River City Bicycles) and Mical Dyck (Pro City Racing) were also not that far behind.

As spectators waited for the leaders to emerge from the woods to start the third lap, riders had quickly become rider and Katie Compton was alone.

“I punched it on the steep hill that I was able to stay on bike for. Katerina had to dismount, so that is where I got my gap,” said Compton.

Compton stretched her gap to nearly 30 seconds going into the second to last lap. Nash, Duke, and Miller tried to work together to limit their losses while Antonneau kept her head down and continued to try and make contact. She would do just that in the main sand pit, as the other three women dismounted to run and Antonneau rode a clean line and made contact shortly thereafter. The group of three now was four. Chloe Forsman (Crank Brothers Club 11) was putting in another stellar ride in sixth, limiting her losses and trailing the chase group by a handful of seconds.

With one to go, Compton’s gap was unchanged. The participants in the chase group each tried to play to their strengths, and set themselves up for making the podium. Antonneau was able to recover from her efforts a little, and hit the gas on one of the tricky off-camber corners to drop her teammate Duke out of the group while simultaneously putting Miller on the ropes. Coming on to the pavement, the 19-year-old led out the sprint for second, and held off the veteran Nash to, once again, notch her best career finish to date.

“I wanted to come on to the pavement first, so I tried really hard to be first into the last section. When we hit the pavement, I just sprinted as fast as I could!” she said with a smile.

Compton was clearly happy for Antonneau as they were both quick to give each other credit for the U23 National Champion’s results.

“I am so proud of her. I can only give guidance,” Compton said. “She is the one who has to carry out the plan and execute. She is a huge talent, and I am excited for her future.” It is safe to say that no one will be surprised if Antonneau is present, and competitive at this very venue for Worlds in 2013.

Read about Powers’ two day domination at Louisville here.

Elite Women’s Full Results

1COMPTON KatherineRabobank
2ANTONNEAU KaitlinCannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c
3NASH KaterinaLuna Pro Team
4MILLER MeredithCalifornia Giant Cycling
5DUKE NicoleCannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.c
6FORSMAN ChloeCrankbrothers Race Club 11
7VAN GILDER LauraC3 pb Mellow Mushroom
8BUTLER SueHudz Subaru
9STETSON-LEE TealCalifornia Giant Berry Farms/Sp
10DYCK MicalPro City Racing
11RIVERA CorynMarian University
12SMITH AndreaLadiesFirst Racing
14HARLTON PepperJuventus Cycling Club
15CAREY AmandaKenda/Felt
16SHERWIN KatherineStan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross
17BINGHAM KelsyRoosters/Bikers Edge
18THIEMANN NicoleTeam CF
19ANTHONY CrystalLadiesFirst Racing
20GORRY DevonRambuski Law
21KRASNIAK JulieRapha-Focus
22BLATT RebeccaTeam Kenda presented by Geargri
23STUDLEY KariTeam Redline
25MAILE SarahVentana Mountain Bikes
26KOROL Meghanbob's Red Mill Cyclocross
27FLYNN KimberlyUSSC-Trek p/b Vantaggio
28GAERTNER JenniRaleigh America
29GOULD GeorgiaLuna Pro Team
32SMILEY MarneBob's Red Mill Cyclocross
33GILBERT SunnyBig Shark/ Michelob Ultra
34SONE LindaCycle-Smart/Flanders
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35HUANG SarahNova IS Corp
36DIMPEL CourtneyTeam Rambuski Law
38OSBORNE CorrieIsCorp
39DINGMAN AnnaCycleution
40BURKS PaulaUS Stove / Vanatggio fitness
41COOGAN CISEK CoreyTeam Plan C PB Stevens
42BAUMSTEIGER KatrinaTeam Rambuski Law
43BUSH LynnTough Girl / SCOTT
44GIBSON ShannonStan's NoTubes Elite Cyclocross
45DONOVAN BridgetTrek Store Cincinnati/Seven Cyc
47BENJAMIN KellyColavita/Forno d'Asolo
48DOWD Patricia
DNFMANI Caroline
DNFBRUNO ROY MaureenBob's Red Mill pb Seven Cycles
DNFLONG MelanieTough Girl / SCOTT
DNSDALLAIRE AnnajeanRacin' for Riley p/b Alderfer Bergen
DNSARNOLD KatieEchelon Cycling Team