Heavy overnight rains had all photographers wringing their hands in excitement. However, the sun and hundreds of amateur riders took away any hopes of mud-covered faces at the finish line ala Paris Roubaix. By 1:30 p.m., at the start of the Women’s Elite C2 race, the course was fast and tacky, and fans were happy to chase their favorite crossers around the Trek Factory backyard.
An international front row included the Clauzel sisters Helene and Perrine, (France), Caroline Mani (French, living in the U.S.), Ellen Van Loy, (Belgian), as well as Americans Raylyn Nuss, Erika Zaveta and Katie Keough. Notably absent from the front row included past World Cup winner Katerina Nash and recent Olympic mountain bike gold medalist Jolanda Neff, who were lined up per their points in the fifth row (Nash) and the very back (Neff).
At the whistle, the field stormed down the paved start-finish lane and onto the grass, the French taking the holeshot in 1-2 and 3 with Helene Clauzel first around the corner, followed by her sister Perrine and Mani, with Nash stuck in midfield and Neff literally at the very back.
Mani showed her great form coming off a strong summer of training and great results in the early U.S. UCI races, battling at the front with the Clauzel sisters. Helene would eventually distance herself from the other two as she wound through the woods, past the Secret Bar, over the logs, rocks and other features that make the backyard course unique.
While the French racers battled up front, both Nash and Neff were showing World Cup maturity by patiently making their way through the field, both of them connecting with Mani and the elder Clauzel sister, Perrine, with only a handful of laps to go. Neff made contact first, rolling right through Mani and Perrine, and on to Helene.
A bit later Nash made contact with Mani. Mani dug deep staying with Nash into the final lap, the two leaving Perrine Clauzel behind.
Meanwhile, up front, Neff connected with the younger Clauzel sister and made haste to leave her behind, showing the strength that comes from her late summer mountain bike adventures and a gold medal.
“I just rode,” said Neff after the race. “The legs just showed up to the party. It’s more fun when they do that!"
“It’s a very mountain bike-friendly course. It’s very good entertainment,” Neff said. “There’s never a dull moment on this course. It’s corner, up-down, wooden logs, rocks, stairs, downhill, uphill. There’s always something going on. You can’t get bored.”
After Neff, Helene Clauzel took the second step on the podium, but the battle for third was not done.
“I had seen that Caroline (Mani) was a little slower on the downhill by the factory (Trek Factory HIll), I went around her before we descended on our last lap,” said Nash, who landed on the third step. “At the bottom, I had a bike length on her and just went for it back up the hill and to the line.”
Mani finished fourth. Ellen Van Loy rode a strong and steady race, picking off tired racers, and finished fifth. Perrine Clauzel came in for sixth.
Looking ahead to Sunday, Neff is reserved.
“On Sunday, I will have to start at the back as well,” said Neff. “There will be much, much, much more competition like a World Champion is here (Lucinda Brand), and Marianna Vos. I think I always knew I had a better chance of it Friday. I had to make the best of it today.”
Full results are below.
2021 Trek Cyclocross Cup Results: Elite Women, UCI C2
|1||45||Jolanda NEFF||Trek Factory Racing||48:33.||7:07.||7|
|2||2||Helene CLAUZEL||AS Bike Cross Team||48:54.||7:07.||7|
|3||30||Katerina NASH||Clif Pro Team||49:16.||6:57.||7|
|4||1||Caroline MANI||Pactimo fierce team||49:25.||7:07.||7|
|5||7||Ellen VAN LOY||Vondelmolen-De Ceuster cycling||49:51.||7:23.||7|
|6||3||Perrine CLAUZEL||AS BIKE CROSS TEAM||50:15.||7:36.||7|
|7||4||Raylyn NUSS||Steve Tilford Foundation Racing||50:37.||7:10.||7|
|8||9||Madigan MUNRO||Trek Factory Racing||50:40.||7:16.||7|
|10||18||Sidney MCGILL||Pedalhead Race Room||51:06.||7:28.||7|
|11||11||Caitlin BERNSTEIN||Easton Overland / MCGOVERN CYCL||51:28.||7:33.||7|
|12||13||Anna MEGALE||Trek Cyclocross Collective||51:55.||7:26.||7|
|13||15||Austin KILLIPS||Pratt Racing||52:06.||7:29.||7|
|14||19||Marion NORBERT RIBEROLLE||Starcasino CX Team||52:09.||7:38.||7|
|15||14||Sunny GILBERT||Blue Competition Cycles p/b Bui||52:10.||7:28.||7|
|16||10||Harriet HARNDEN||Trek Factory Racing||52:35.||7:44.||7|
|17||12||Emily WERNER||Kens Bike Shop||52:53.||7:32.||7|
|18||49||Lauren ZOERNER||Alpha Bicycle Company-Groove Si||53:00.||7:36.||7|
|19||28||Lizzy GUNSALUS||Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.||53:25.||7:55.||7|
|20||5||Erica ZAVETA||The Pony Shop p/b KPMG||53:34.||7:59.||7|
|21||38||Anna DOROVSKIKH||Orion Racing||53:58.||7:51.||7|
|22||16||Regina LEGGE||Trek Cyclocross Collective||54:16.||7:41.||7|
|23||34||Maria LARKIN||Donkey Label Racing p/b FK Law||54:39.||7:57.||7|
|24||37||Nicole BRADBURY||Team Hamilton||54:45.||7:51.||7|
|25||41||Erin FELDHAUSEN||Trek Cyclocross Collective||54:53.||7:48.||7|
|26||40||Elizabeth SHELDON||CXHAIRS DEVO : TREK BIKES||55:16.||7:54.||7|
|27||27||Stephanie TAPLIN||Cascadia Wheel Co. Factory Team||55:25.||8:19.||7|
|28||46||Siobhan KELLY||Black Dog Racing||55:47.||8:09.||7|
|29||39||Rebecca GROSS||Zero D Racing||39:33.||7:47.||5|
|30||43||Kelly LAWSON||Hardwood Next Wave||39:57.||8:09.||5|
|31||17||Julie BROUWERS||Vondelmolen-De Ceuster cycling||39:57.||8:06.||5|
|32||47||Molly CLARK-OIEN||Parallel 44 Racing p/b Sanford||40:17.||8:15.||5|
|34||48||Katelyn WALCROFT||Hardwood Next Wave||41:01.||8:56.||5|
|35||26||Leslie ETHRIDGE||ORNOT Elite Off-Road Team||41:01.||8:17.||5|
|36||44||Corey COOGAN CISEK||VeloRevolution=WP Cycles||41:04.||8:21.||5|
|38||31||Aubrey DRUMMOND||Lindenwood University||41:24.||8:33.||5|
|39||32||Risa HUSTAD||TacoCat Racing||32:54.||7:48.||4|
|40||35||Ryley MOSHER||Competitive Edge Racing||32:54.||7:39.||4|
|41||50||Jordan Gwyen AUSTIN||xXx Racing - Athletico||32:54.||7:21.||4|
|42||36||Abigail YATES||Lindenwood University||19:12.||10:26.||2|
|DNS||6||Crystal ANTHONY||Liv Racing Collective||0|
|DNS||29||Michaela THOMPSON||Alpha Bicycle Co. - Groove Silv||0|