LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (VN) — American Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) was officially awarded the UCI cyclocross World Cup winner’s trophy at a gala event Friday in Louisville — the first time any American has ever won the prestigious title.
Across seven 2012-13 World Cup events, Compton won three times and finished second three times; because of her overwhelming points tally, she was able to skip the final event, run in a snowstorm in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.
“I’m just really excited and happy, and I feel like it’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Compton told VeloNews. “I’ve struggled the last few years, with health issues, and support issues, and traveling back and forth to Europe, I haven’t had a year where I just dialed it all in and felt strong and raced consistently.
“This year was the first time, and it’s been the culmination of all of that struggle and hard work. It finally paid off and I had a great season. I either won, or was second, in all the races, so I’m just really happy to win the World Cup overall. It’s huge for me, and I think it’s huge for the U.S. also.”
Asked to compare her World Cup title against the prospect of a rainbow jersey — and which better denotes the world’s best cyclocross racer — Compton said both had equal distinction.
“I think that’s hard, especially when you are talking about racing at the international level, there are so many good, strong riders,” she said. “I think being consistent should be rewarded, as well as the person who can bring it all together on one big day. That’s also a very special mental challenge in itself.
“I like the World Cup, the series, the way they do the points structure. I’d like to see a world championship consist of 10 races, like they do in Formula 1, where they have to race all season, 20 races, and the world champion is the one that wins most consistently throughout the season.
“I do like that approach better, but you know, the world championship is a classic. It has been part of bike racing forever, so that’s special in itself.”
Compton, who has earned two silvers and a bronze at the world championships over the past six years, will have a chance to win a first world championship on Saturday morning in Louisville.