ROUBAIX, France (VN) — Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) rebounded from a pair of crashes and a broken spoke to win the Roubaix round of the World Cup on Sunday.
Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank) was out in front after the first lap, which saw World Cup leader Compton crash on a slick, right-hand descent in a tangle with Sanne Cant (Veldritacademie Enertherm-BKCP), who needed medical attention and was eventually taken off the course on a stretcher.
“I don’t know what happened on the descent, but I was expecting (Sanne) to ride it and we ran into each other,” said Compton. “I broke a spoke in that crash and had to get a bike change. And then I just kept making mistakes.”
With five to go Van Paassen had a commanding lead of some 14 seconds. But as the race progressed, Compton worked her way into second and began closing on the leader — only to crash once again on the slick right-hand descent.
“I took clumsy up to a whole new level today,” she tweeted afterward.
No matter. Going into bell lap Compton had recovered and was just four seconds behind Van Paassen. At the barriers the two were together, and the American took the front following a short sand pit.
Van Paassen wouldn’t quit — she took point once again on a stretch of tarmac leading into the gooey bits and up a long staircase run. But Compton rode past her on one of the slick descents as Van Paassen got off to run, and that was that — the World Cup leader had a three-second advantage going around the Roubaix velodrome, and by the time she was on the track Van Paassen was racing for second.
She got it, with Jasmin Achermann (Rapha-Focus) third.
“Today was fast and that’s my thing, so I liked it,” said Van Paassen. “The last two times I walked the steep downhill, because I felt like I was tired and thought maybe I shouldn’t take a risk. But maybe I should have taken the risk the last time.
“Compton was very strong, and I felt my legs were full, so I couldn’t do any acceleration by the end of the race.”
Achermann, meanwhile, was delighted with her third-place finish.
“I can’t believe [that I was on the podium],” she said. “My start was not so good. In the first corner I was 10th or 12th, but then in the first sand passage the people ahead of me crashed and I moved up to eighth. Then on the first downhill another two people crashed, and I could move to third position. And then, on the second downhill, another crashed, and I got to second position.
“So I just rode my own race — I didn’t look ahead or behind me, I just did it at my own pace. I saw only [Katie and Sanne] were ahead of me, so I knew I was going fast. If I had gone faster than I was going, I would have blown up, so I really had to do my own race.”
Compton continues to lead the World Cup with 230 points. Van Paassen sits second with 180 while Nikki Harris (Telenet) is third with 170.
The fifth round of the World Cup is scheduled for December 23 in Namur, Belgium.
• Despite Cant’s heavy fall — she was on the ground, being attended by medics, for at least a full lap — post-race reports indicated that she was suffering from headaches and some nasty bruising, but no broken bones.
• American Amy Dombroski (Telenet-Fidea) once again missed an automatic slot on the world’s team by just a single placing (she crossed 11th, behind Czech Martina Mikulaskova).
“I kept almost getting past [her] in a corner, and a few time we were elbow to elbow,” she said. “It was just so fast. Honestly, I thought a few years ago when this was a mud-fest it was a much better World Cup. This year there was nothing hard about the course, it was just fast. I think a World Cup course should have more harder aspects. This dry, it’s just too simple — just flat and a lot of corners.”
Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this report.