Katerina Nash (Luna) bounced back from a late crash to win round one of the Providence Cyclocross Festival on Saturday.
Nash escaped U.S. national champion Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) and Elle Anderson (California Giant-Specialized) with just over two laps to go and rode alone to the victory.
“You had to keep an eye on everybody,” said Nash. “It was a strong group. I definitely knew I had to put out a good effort to win today.”
Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement) got off to a fast start, taking the hole shot from Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Racing). Then Wyman cranked it up, with Anderson on her wheel, and the race was one long line going across the unusually technical flyover, which featured sharp corners at both entrance and exit.
Anderson took the lead at the staircase run-up, with Wyman sitting second and Mani third.
The Cal Giant rider opened a slight gap on the first lap, only to be chased and eventually caught by a five-woman group including Wyman, Nash, Compton, Gabby Durrin (Rapha-Focus) and Nicole Duke (Marin-Spy).
At the end of the lap, Compton went to the front of the six-woman lead group and gave it some stick, and the lead group was quickly whittled down to the national champion, Nash and Anderson going into the third lap.
Nash came forward then, setting pace for the lead group, which had 10 seconds on the chasers. Compton led onto the stairs, but a subsequent bobble on a marginally rideable section gave the lead back to the Luna rider. Anderson was laying low, riding third wheel.
Compton quickly made up the lost ground and went back to the front of the trio as they rode into lap four.
But then Nash took the front once more, going into and over the flyover — she took a few bike lengths, then a few more following the staircase run, and suddenly she was all alone, chased by Compton and Anderson. Meredith Miller (California Giant) and Crystal Anthony (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) were riding in fourth and fifth, respectively.
With two laps to go Nash had eight seconds on Anderson and Compton, and she wasn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
The Luna rider crashed once, sliding out in a left-hand, off-camber, grassy corner just before the paved finishing stretch. But she quickly remounted and got back after it, with 10 seconds’ advantage still in hand as she raced into the bell lap.
Nash bobbled once more, this time on a running section, but again, it wasn’t enough of a miscue to make a difference. She hung on for the win ahead of Anderson, with Compton rounding out the podium in third.