It’s hard to recall Georgia Gould’s inconsistent 2011 cyclocross season, marked with struggle and bad luck, after her stunning season across the off-road disciplines of mountain biking and cyclocross in 2012. But she is still paying the price for last year.
Despite having strong domestic results to show for her strong form this year, Gould’s U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross call-ups have not been ideal — at the USGP Derby City Cup in Louisville, Kentucky, she started on the second row.
And without a European race schedule, or any European results, the Luna Pro Team rider doesn’t expect that fact to change. Gould told VeloNews that she expected her call-up in February to be “bad.”
A double-podium at the Derby City Cup bumped her UCI cyclocross ranking from 37th place, with 296 points, to 34th, with 328, as of December 15.
The world’s No. 1-ranked woman, American Katie Compton, has 2,180 points, so on paper Gould shouldn’t be starting anywhere near the Trek Cyclocross Collective rider. However, when compared to the European champion, Helen Wyman (Kona-FSA) of Great Britain, the practical discrepancy between Gould’s strong domestic results and her low world ranking is apparent.
The Kona rider missed the podium to Gould both days of the Derby City Cup in Louisville, Kentucky, but boasts 1,796 UCI points, good enough for third in the world.
Gould is also ranked behind American riders who have been finishing behind her in domestic cyclocross races this season, among them Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com), who ranks 16th. Gould also beat out an international field in Louisville that included Rapha-Focus riders Gabriella Day, ranked 12th, and Julie Krasniak, ranked 20th.
Only with her points totaled from her podiums in Louisville was Gould able to surpass teammate Teal Stetson-Lee, ranked 44th worldwide.
Wyman told VeloNews at the Derby City Cup that Gould was on her shortlist of riders capable of getting on the podium in Louisville come February, if she had a good day.
“I’d like to think that,” Gould said. “I’m hoping to be fast for worlds. It’s a hard course, and the harder the better for me.”
With competitive form and a course suited to her strengths, Gould could be primed to strike, but she will have to fight her way through the field first. Staying stateside for her racing, the Luna rider fears those call-ups won’t improve significantly by February.
“It means it will probably be better, the slower the start is for me,” she said.
She also acknowledges the advantage of having already raced at the venue, and will come into the worlds with an understanding of how to get the most out of each lap. Her experience racing on the course also highlighted how great a challenge it will be to fight through traffic to the front of the race.
“I feel like I was riding consistent laps, but the gaps stayed the same,” she said of her USGP race in Louisville. “Once the gap’s there, it’s really hard to close it down.”