NAMUR, Belgium (VN) — Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) triumphed over a star-studded field on Sunday in the World Cup round at Namur.
The U.S. national champion and World Cup leader took the victory by 28 seconds over Katerina Nash (Luna) with world champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank) third at 50 seconds.
“I just had a clean race. I had a good start, I just relaxed and pedaled,” said Compton. “So I just looked at it as a time trial, I thought I’d just go and time trial and see how it goes and keep it smooth in the descents.
“The downhills are really fun, and they’re just slippery, so even if you fall, it’s so soft. And you could just smoosh all the ruts, so you didn’t even have to worry about hitting the ruts right. You could just go. I had the bike setup, tire pressure, everything just dialed, physically and technically.”
Nash said she was content with second place in her first time racing the Christmas series.
“You can’t expect great things. You hope for great things and you do your best, but not always does it work out,” she said.
“I wanted to have a clean race today. I was kind of all over the place yesterday in Essen, making a bunch of mistakes, and I only arrived here on Friday, so it’s been a little hectic the last few days. It’s a challenging course, and it would have been easy to make a mistake, but I stayed on my bike today and felt good, so I’m very happy about second place.”
Meredith Miller (California Giant-Specialized), was likewise content with 11th on the day, which she said proved she’s on her way back after breaking a hand earlier in the season. And she admitted to a little edginess when she got her first look at the course’s hair-raising descents.
“I have to admit that I was a little nervous coming into the race based on videos that I’d seen from previous years,” she said. “When I pre-rode yesterday and got to the top of those drop-ins, I just thought, ‘Well, I have nothing to lose, I already broke my hand once this year, what else could go wrong?’ So I just went for it and I felt comfortable on everything.
“Sure, I wanted that top-10, but it’s also confirmation that I’m back, that my legs are here and I can ride in conditions like this. I have another World Cup and three more races here [in Belgium] to keep pushing my fitness and then go home and get ready for nationals.”
Compton continues to lead the World Cup with 290 points. Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank) is second with 210 and Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) third with 205.
Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this story.