PORTLAND, Ore (VN) — The Luna Chix put on a ’cross clinic on Sunday at the finale of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series in Oregon.
Teammates Katerina Nash, Amy Dombroski and series leader Georgia Gould were off the front on the very first lap of the Stanley Portland Cup, and by lap two Nash was all alone and headed for a second consecutive victory after pipping Gould in Saturday’s contest.
“It was great — I won the race, I can’t complain,” said Nash. “I just decided to go for it and make it as hard as possible. It wasn’t as sloppy today, so it was really only about pedaling today.”
The circuit was tacky, having dried out even more under the onslaught of a windy weekend in the Pacific Northwest, and Nash made the most of it, powering through the ups and downs of the Portland International Raceway, in and out of the saddle. The Czech national champion went to the front almost immediately in the opening lap and strung the field out. The elastic snapped behind Dombroski and the blue-clad Luna women were off and running 12 minutes into the 40-minute race.
“Richard Fries came up to me before the start and said, ‘Focus on the second lap,’” said Dombroski. “I tried to stay on Katerina’s wheel as long as I could. I didn’t stay there too long, but you’ve got to start somewhere and every race try to stay there longer and longer, and I was able to make that selection.”
Behind them, series runner-up Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized), Wendy Simms (Ridley-FSA) and Sue Butler (Hudz-Subaru) battled for the top five. The three riders battled, five seconds between them each, for most of the race until Miller used her roadie power to distance the others by nearly 10 seconds in an exposed field beyond the finishing straight.
Going through the barriers en route to two laps to go, Gould had fallen to 13 seconds behind her teammate, with Dombroski a further 17 seconds back.
Gould had conceded another three seconds next time through the barriers, while Dombroski had slipped to 50 seconds back.
On the bell lap it was still Nash long gone, Gould sitting second and Dombroski holding Miller at bay for third. And that’s the way things stayed. Nash took the win, Gould finished second some 19 seconds later, locking up the USGP title, and Dombroski filled out the podium at 1:13. Miller took fourth at 1:39 and Wendy Simms collected fifth at 2:15.
Dombroski, who will be looking for a new team at season’s end, was pleased with her performance — especially after a subpar showing on Saturday, when she finished 16th, more than four minutes off Nash’s winning pace. She said that before the race she put Saturday in a box and forgot about it.
“Yesterday nothing went right,” she said, “so I was definitely happy to have a better one.”
- 1. Katerina Nash, Luna Pro Team, 40:32
- 2. Georgia Gould, Luna Pro Team, at 0:19
- 3. Amy Dombroski, Luna Pro Team, at 1:12
- 4. Meredith Miller, California Giant-Specialized, at 1:39
- 5. Wendy Simms, Ridley-FSA, at 2:16
Editor’s Note: Brian Holcombe is a reporter with VeloNews. He covers all things racing in the U.S. and has been accused of attacking too much on the VN lunch ride.
— Online editor at large Patrick O’Grady contributed to this report.