Katie Compton’s (Colorado Springs, Colo./Trek Cyclocross Collective) silver medal in the elite women’s race led the Americans on Saturday at the 2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships. The Americans earned three top-10 finishes and seven top-15 results through the four-race day at Eva Bandman Park in Louisville, Ky.
It marked the first time in the 63-year history of the cyclo-cross world championships that the event was held outside of Europe.
An overnight snow left a thin blanket on the course for the juniors men 17-18 race. With rainbow jerseys at stake the competitors looked past the occasional, brief flurries and sinking temperatures and focused on the their races, entertaining a boisterous crowd of nearly ten thousand spectators on site and thousands more watching the live online stream worldwide.
Compton, who finished the season as the UCI’s top-ranked elite woman in cyclo-cross, overcame a tough start and weaved her way through slower-moving traffic to finish second to Marianne Vos (NED) in the elite women’s race. Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wis./Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale) placed 10th only seven seconds ahead of Amy Dombroski (Boulder, Colo./Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team), who placed 11th. Jade Wilcoxson (Talent, Ore./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefits) also posted a strong finish, placing 15th, 4:14 behind Vos. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./LUNA Pro Team), who was caught in an early pile up involving several riders, clawed back into the race to finish 17th.
Compton found herself behind slower riders in the first half of the six-lap, 16.8-kilometer race. As Compton was stuck in traffic, Vos, who got the holeshot, was pulling away from the field. As the race approached its midpoint, Compton, feeling the support from the American crowd, battled onto the wheel of the group vying for third place. As that group turned into its penultimate lap, Compton attacked and was clear of all challengers. Vos, however, was too far ahead for the winner of nine USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships to contest. Compton placed second, 1:34 behind Vos. Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (FRA) placed third, 36 seconds behind Compton.
“Today, I felt like I won a silver, not that I got second,” Compton said. “After going through those emotions in St. Wendel (Germany), I wasn’t going to put myself in that spot again. I rode well, I made some mistakes, yes, but that is all I can do. Getting second to Marianne [Vos] isn’t too shabby, so I’m happy.”
With a second-half surge, Tim Johnson (Topsfield, Mass./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) moved into 19th place to record the Americans’ top finish in the elite men’s race. The newly-crowned national champion, Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H./Fuji Bikes), placed 22nd while Jeremy Powers (Easthampton, Mass./Team Rapha-Focus) finished 25th.
The elite men’s race quickly turned into a battle between Francis Mourey (FRA) and Belgian riders Sven Nys, Kevin Pauwels and Klaas Van Tournout. Mourey pulled away from the field for the first three laps of the race while the Belgians chased. As the nine-lap, 25.14-kilometer race continued, the Belgians worked together to chip away at the French rider’s advantage before assuming the lead with three laps remaining. Nys outsprinted Van Tournout on the pavement to win the world championship by only two seconds.
“Yesterday, I felt I was getting a little nervous,” Nys said. “I thought ‘Why am I doing this? It is so stressful, costs a lot of energy,’ but in the end when you win and you have this jersey, you say, ‘this is why I am doing it.’”
Page remained with the lead group of 15 riders for the first four laps, but some mechanical issues cost him valuable time. Johnson stayed in the middle of the pack before surging into 19th place. Ryan Trebon (Bend, Ore./Cannondale-Clement) made a strong move during the fifth lap of the race and moved into 16th place, but he was unable to finish the race.
“I had an okay start,” Johnson said. “The second lap in, I had a couple little problems. I really felt like I was moving toward the end. The fans were really incredible. I want to keep riding around.”
Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Team Rapha-Focus) started the U23 men’s race in the middle of the pack and broke into the top 10 riders before finishing in 11th place. Local favorite Andrew Dillman (Fairdale, Ky./Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross) was the next American rider, placing 25th. Josh Johnson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Indianapolis Cycling Club) and Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colo./Boo-Enve) placed 29th and 37th, respectively.
Mike Teunissen (NED) continued the Dutch march to the top step of the podium as he won the race by 14 seconds over Wietse Bosmans (BEL). Wout Van Aert (BEL) earned the bronze medal, finishing 22 seconds behind Teunissen.
Bosmans led the first half seven-lap, 19.58-kilometer contest before Teunissen assumed the top spot with three laps remaining.
The 21-year-old McDonald fought from 17th place into ninth place with three laps remaining, but Michael Van Der Heijden (NED) and Gianni Vermeersch (BEL) managed to sneak past him during the final two laps.
“The crowd was awesome,” McDonald said. “It’s totally different than racing anywhere else in the world. The crowd is in your favor. It was very nice. They were loud. It really was great.”
The day’s first race featured the juniors men 17-18 as the event’s youngest riders were the first to tangle with the snowy course.
A slow start and late mechanical problems cost Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./Team Redline) a spot on the podium as he finished four seconds off the podium in fourth place. Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) placed 11th, 2:43 behind the race winner Mathieu Van Der Poel (NED). Maxx Chance (Boulder, Colo./Clif Bar Development Cross Team) and David Lombardo (Crystal Lake, Ill./Verdigris-Village CX Team) placed 25th and 27th, respectively.
Van Der Poel and his teammate, Martijn Budding, quickly distinguished themselves as the riders to beat in the race. Behind the two Dutch riders were Belgian competitors Nicolas Cleppe and Yannick Peeters. After completing his first lap in ninth place, Owen, who said after the race he “couldn’t hear himself think” due to the crowd noise, turned in three sub-seven-minute laps to overtake the Belgians. A late mechanical issue with his chain cost Owen on the fifth lap of the six-lap, 16.8-kilometer race as he slipped into ninth place. He hit the gas and turned in the second-fastest last lap, but it wasn’t enough to catch Adam Toupalik (CZE), who rode away with the bronze medal.
“I felt like I was one of the strongest guys out there today,” Owen said. “I had everything going. My training was perfect. My legs felt great. I had to come back from so far back just to get where I was. There’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to move on and hopefully get some top tens in the U23s. I feel like I let a lot of people down, but I’ll come back next year even hungrier.”
2013 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships
1. Sven Nys (BEL) 1:05:35 2. Klaas Vantornout (BEL) +0:02 3. Lars Van Der Haar (NED) +0:25 19. Timothy Johnson (Topsfield, Mass./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) +3:20 22. Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H./Fuji Bikes) +3:42 25. Jeremy Powers (Easthampton, Mass./Team Rapha-Focus) +4:16 27. James Driscoll (Sandy, Utah/Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) +4:37 35. Daniel Summerhill (Englewood, Colo./UnitedHealthcare) -2 laps Ryan Trebon (Bend, Ore./Cannondale-Clement) DNF
1. Marianne Vos (NED) 43:00 2. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Trek Cyclocross Collective) +1:34 3. Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (FRA) +2:10 10. Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wis./Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale) +3:19 11. Amy Dombroski (Boulder, Colo./Young Telenet-Fidea Cycling Team) +3:26 15. Jade Wilcoxson (Talent, Ore./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) +4:14 17. Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./LUNA Pro Team) +4:24 Meredith Miller (Boulder, Colo./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) DNF
1. Mike Teunissen (NED) 48:40 2. Wietse Bosmans (BEL) +0:14 3. Wout Van Aert (BEL) +0:22 11. Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Team Rapha-Focus) +1:42 25. Andrew Dillman (Fairdale, Ky./Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross) +3:40 29. Josh Johnson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Indianapolis Cycling Club) +4:19 37. Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colo./Boo-Enve) -1 lap 39. Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) -3 laps
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (NED) 40:47 2. Martijn Budding (NED) +0:57 3. Adam Toupalik (CZE) +1:19 4. Logan Owen (Bremerton, Wash./Team Redline) +1:23 11. Curtis White (Delanson, N.Y./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) +2:43 25. Maxx Chance (Boulder, Colo./Clif Bar Development Cross Team) +4:58 27. David Lombardo (Crystal Lake, Ill./Verdigris-Village CX Team) +5:04 31. Stephen Bassett (Knoxville, Tenn./Bob’s Red Mill Cyclocross Team) -1 lap