FAIRFIELD, Ohio (VN) — Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) ran the table at the Cincy3 Cyclocross Festival, winning all three races, as did Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com — just not with the same rider.
The course at Harbin Park in the Cincinnati suburb of Fairfield served up soft corners and long uphill straightaway sections between the start, past the pit and through the start-finish, bringing long lines of riders through the sand pit the first time past the announcers’ stand.
In the women’s race six riders made the initial selection: Compton, Katerina Nash (Luna), Andrea Smith (Ladies First), Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), Nicole Duke (Natural Grocers Cycling Team), and Nicole Thiemann (Team CF-Elite).
Closely behind were Amanda Carey (Volkswagen Boise), Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill), Ashley James (NOW Cycling) and an apparently healthier Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement), who didn’t start Friday and dropped out in midrace on Saturday.
Between the long climb to the gazebo and the uphill barriers, Compton took the front and began shedding the baggage. Nash and Antonneau were in coach with Duke flying standby. Smith rocketed through the fast, deep downhill sand a few seconds back followed by a chase containing Thiemann, Bruno Roy, James and Mani.
It was down to two on lap two as Compton and Nash broke open a 10-second gap to Antonneau on some greasy turns adjacent to the main park road. Behind, Duke bobbled in the sand, and Carey locked onto her wheel. Mani and Thiemann teamed up as the third group on course.
As a group of 10-15 fans on the hill at the barriers did “the wave,” Compton built a small advantage over Nash, continued applying the pressure and forged a 23-second gap by lap three.
That was the race — the podium was settled, with Compton, Nash and Antonneau. Asked how she could break Compton’s grip on the front, Nash replied, “My time will come.”
A Zach attack
Determined to put a Rapha-Focus rider on the podium, Zach McDonald steamed through the sand with nine riders on his wheel: teammate Chris Jones; Brian Matter (RACC-GG); Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com riders Ryan Trebon and Jamey Driscoll; Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement); Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain); Troy Wells and Mitchell Hoke (Clif Bar); and Bradley White (Mom’s In Tow Cyclocross.)
All nine rode through clean, but behind many were forced to dismount as riders stacked on the turn exiting the sand.
Like Compton, Trebon used the uphill barriers as his launching pad to break Rapha’s grip on the front. Three laps in, he whittled it down to a group of five with Driscoll, Jones, McDonald and Berden. With Berden along for the ride, it was Cannondale vs. Rapha.
Behind, Sheppard teamed up with Matter, while Josh Johnson (Bissell-ABG), Wells and White formed a second chase.
Jones fired the first shots with a big effort out of the sand and up the hill preceding the barriers. No dice. The cat-and-mouse slowed the group, allowing Matter and Sheppard to tag on.
With five laps to go, Trebon tried again at the barriers, but Jones was having none of it and led through and past the fans gathered at the top near the gazebo. Later in the lap, Trebon tried again, this time in a stretch of deep mud that transitioned across the road. It stuck. Trebon broke free with Jones, leaving Driscoll behind with Berden and Matter. McDonald briefly fell back to seventh behind Sheppard.
Perhaps sensing that Matter and Berden couldn’t muster the strength to close the gap, Driscoll charged across on the climb preceding the barriers. It was now a Cannondale sandwich with Jones in the middle.
After the race Driscoll said Trebon encouraged him to pull and confided that he simply rode hard and opened up a gap on Jones and Trebon. When he saw it, he stretched it through the barriers. McDonald couldn’t answer and was stuck giving Trebon a free ride.
With two laps to go, Jones bobbled in the sand and had to dismount. Trebon capitalized and blew past him en route to second.