LOUISVILLE, KY (VN) — Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant) won her second Derby City Cup on Sunday, sweeping the weekend’s racing in Louisville, Kentucky.
It was another blustery day for the conclusion to round three of the Exergy U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series.
Meredith Miller (Cal Giant-Specialized) blazed to the holeshot on the reshuffled course, which was slightly less open and more technical than Saturday’s circuit. Compton and Katerina Nash (Luna) were right behind her going up the flyover, the sharp end of a long line of women.
Georgia Gould (Luna) was not among them, however. She’d had a mechanical straight away and swapping bikes left her a couple of minutes off the back and out of the hunt.
Miller stayed on the front until she crashed in one of three sand pits on the course, ceding the lead to Compton.
“Sand pits are tough, and it’s so easy to make a mistake,” said Compton. “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 U.S. national champion had a lead of a few bike lengths over Nash and Miller as she crossed the line to start the second lap. Then Nash and Nicole Duke (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) slipped past Miller and closed on Compton at the barriers.
Miller was a few bike lengths behind the leading trio as they hit the flyover, with Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale) trailing her, trying to make contact.
Then Compton upped the ante and only Nash could follow. Compton shed her on a steep hill that she was able to ride while Nash bobbled, and boom — the Rabobank rider was gone, off the front and alone going into lap three.
With two laps to go Compton led by 15 seconds as Nash, Duke and Miller linked up and formed a three-woman chase. Antonneau fought her way up to them on the backside of the course, catching them in a sand pit, and it was four against one.
“We had a super strong group going,” said Nash. “Of course, we couldn’t hang with Katie today. I tried for a little bit, but I wasn’t able to hang on, so the three other riders came up to me and we sort of took turns.”
It wasn’t a fair fight — they needed a few more women to make it happen. Though Compton struggled a bit on the rideable run, she had extended her advantage to 26 seconds by the time she shot into the bell lap.
“Katerina pulled for a while and then she kind of came to the side, and I didn’t want to let everyone come and catch our group,” said Duke. “So I was like, ‘OK, it’s my turn.’ So I pulled, and then I pulled for like a lap. And so when we came out here onto the cement I was like, ‘I’m not doing it anymore.’ And nobody really wanted to come through so I kind of relaxed a little bit.”
The race now was for second place. Nash had the savvy, but Miller had the sprint. Then Antonneau came to the front and punched it, first shedding her teammate Duke, then Miller. Only Nash remained.
Compton finally had to dismount for the killer hill, but it wasn’t a game-changer. Once again she hit the pavement all alone, saluted the crowd and took the win. Behind, Antonneau and Nash sprinted for second — and the young Cannondale rider bested the Luna veteran to stand one step higher on the podium.
“I wanted to come onto the pavement first, so I tried really hard to get into that last section first,” said Antonneau. “When I got onto the pavement I just sprinted as fast as I could.”
Nash said she gave it her best shot.
“As we came to the last lap it was just obvious that we were just gonna go for it, and I certainly tried, and I put up a good fight with little Katie,” she said. “She was just stronger to the line and made me work for it. I’m excited about my third place.”
Asked if she was pleased to share the podium with her 19-year-old protegée, Compton replied: “I give her guidance, but it’s all her. She’s the one who’s putting the hard work into it.”
• Caroline Mani (CC Etupe) abandoned at midrace, feeling the effects of a wrist injury from a late crash on Saturday. “I thought it would be OK, but it’s really bumpy today,” she said. “I hate to give up, but it’s OK, I will be better next week.”
• Nash remains atop the overall standings with 264 points. Compton is second with 190 and Miller third with 150. Asked if she was prepared for the pressure of taking the leader’s jersey into the finale in Bend, she replied: “I’ve had it the whole season, so that’s a good thing. I’ve gotten used to the weight of it on my shoulders. I’ll be able to handle it.”
Online editor at large Patrick O’Grady contributed to this report.