Though each of the women who finished on the podium had something to celebrate — a world title, a final worlds medal, an unexpected result — for some the race was a big disappointment. And Katie Compton, who came to Koksijde a heavy favorite for the podium, was first among them.
“You have to have a good start here, and I didn’t do that again,” she said, referring to a series of first-lap missteps that have hampered her races, at least in Europe, over the past several months. “It was really hard being in traffic, it was hard to ride some of it when you were stuck behind people. But the sand is just hard, and I guess today I didn’t have it. I don’t know what happened, it was just not a good day.”
Behind her, none of the Americans quite lived up to expectations, but several said they were satisfied with their results in an especially difficult race.
Meredith Miller, who finished 20th, just behind US teammate Nicole Duke in 19th, said that, arriving this week having never seen the course, she wouldn’t walk away disappointed.
“When I got here on Thursday it was the first time I ever saw the course in person,” said Miller. I had seen videos and heard the talk about it, so it wasn’t like I was overwhelmed, but it confirmed what everybody had said, that the sand was hard. Sure I wish I had finished better than 20th, but I think, given what I had to do this week, it was ok.”
20-year-old Kaitie Antonneau had to settle for 26th, and said some mistakes hampered her chances, but nonetheless was pleased to improve on her result in last year’s world championships.
“I’m a little disappointed,” she said after crossing the finish line, “but the positive thing is that I did better than last year. I tried my best. I really can’t be disappointed with my season even if today didn’t go as well as I hoped it would.”
Amy Dombroski, who finished between Miller and Antonneau in 23rd after a season spent in Europe, shared similar sentiments.
“I’m happy with my race, considering that a few weeks ago I didn’t even know if I’d be racing here,” she said, referring to a long battle with illness that ruined the end of December and January for her. “I think I was riding really well, I just didn’t have a lot of power in my legs, and that’s something I can improve on next year.”