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American cyclocross champion Katie Compton said she was content with her third-place finish at Sunday’s World Cup race in Namur, Belgium, after breathing issues nearly ended her race early.
The threat of an asthma attack, combined with a missed pedal at the start, forced Compton to stay within herself over the muddy, hilly course at Namur. The Trek Factory Racing rider, who has been crowned World Cup series champion the past two seasons, never saw the front of the race, where world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) and Katerina Nash (Luna) battled for the victory.
Instead, Compton worked her way through the field, finishing third, 1:07 behind Nash, and 34 seconds behind Vos, who was returning to cyclocross after her traditional break after the road season.
Though she’s won 10 consecutive national titles, Compton’s career has also been beset with physical struggles, including crippling leg cramps, hypothyroidism, and allergy-induced asthma that has hindered her at key events, including the 2014 world cyclocross championship in Hoogerheide, where she finished a disappointing ninth.
Asked if third place in Namur is a result that she could be satisfied with, Compton answered, “Yeah, because I was on the edge of having an asthma attack the whole time. The way I’m feeling, and the way training has gone, today was actually really a successful day for me. Today, I’m really happy. I felt like today I won, because I finished the race. I was able to manage my breathing enough to get to the finish.”
Compton blamed her asthma on mold, and said she came into the race knowing that Nash and Vos would set a speed that would be difficult for her to match.
“I knew Katerina was riding fast, and I knew Marianne was going to ride fast, so they were off the front and I was like, ‘I’ve got to cut my losses and just finish as high as I can,” Compton said. “It was so hard out there today, it was more like a time trial. If you could ride faster, you were going to ride faster, and I couldn’t.”
Though she started on the front row, Compton missed a pedal at the start, and found herself well behind the leaders from the gun.
“I missed my pedal at the start, which is odd because I’ve been doing starts — and hill starts — and I still missed my pedal,” Compton said. “So that sucked, but I actually didn’t lose so much time, I was probably in tenth or fifteenth spot. So I was able to pass a few girls and be patient. I didn’t feel that great today, so I knew I couldn’t go too deep. So I just slowly picked people off and rode steady.”
Compton also said she could take solace in the fact that she rode a technically clean race, devoid of crashes that slowed down both Vos and French champion Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabo-Liv), who finished fifth.
“Technically I felt pretty good. I was able to push hard on enough sections to not lose time,” Compton said.
As for the World Cup series, a third consecutive overall win is still a very real possibility for Compton — with two events remaining, she sits one point behind Belgian Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) who finished sixth in Namur, with Belgian Ellen Van Loy in third, a distant 32 points down.
“I’m one point back [in the World Cup overall] so of course [it’s still a goal],” Compton said. “But I want to win a race, that would be nice. I really just want to feel well and ride better. We still have Zolder [December 26] and Hoogerheide [January 25] — Hoogerheide has never been a good course for me, so we’ll see how that one goes. But I like Zolder, and it’s a fast race, so we’ll see.”
As for her asthma issues, Compton said that a week spent training in Mallorca, Spain, prior to Namur hadn’t solved the problem, but she was optimistic that time spent at her home in Colorado Springs, following Zolder, would alleviate the issue.
“I’m going to go home, and I think that once I’m in a desert climate it will be better, “Compton said. “The mold here is really bad, I’ve got to get out of Europe. So I’m going to go home after Zolder and hopefully train and recover and feel good for Worlds. That’s the goal.”
VeloNews.com correspondent Dan Seaton contributed to this report from Namur, Belgium
The post Compton satisfied with podium finish after asthma issues at Namur appeared first on VeloNews.com.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Velo magazine, the annual awards issue.
American Katie Compton has been winning international cyclocross races so consistently, and for so long, it’s sometimes easy to overlook her world-class caliber.
It’s not accurate to say that Compton is without peer — Marianne Vos has proven a formidable opponent, particularly at the world championships — but in the context of an award that acknowledges consistent performances across the calendar, Compton has proven to be the most dominant rider in women’s cyclocross, and the most impressive North American woman in pro cycling across all disciplines.
Over the 2013-2014 season — which started slowly for her due to injury and illness during the summer of 2013 — Compton won 14 races from 21 starts, including five of seven World Cup events, sealing her second consecutive World Cup series title. She is the only American, man or woman, to ever win the UCI’s prestigious World Cup series.
In January, Compton also clinched an incredible 10th straight national championship. The last American woman to win the stars and stripes jersey at a national cyclocross championship was six-time winner Alison Dunlap, in 2003.
Compton has been awarded Velo’s North American Cyclocross Woman of the Year title for the past decade, but this marks the first time she’s been awarded North American Woman of the Year, which spans across all disciplines; it’s also the first time she’s been awarded International Cyclocross Woman of the Year.
“It’s pretty sweet to win all three categories,” Compton said in October. “I’m really happy with last year’s season, especially after some preseason setbacks, and these awards just top it off.”
A powerful rider who excels in sloppy, difficult conditions, Compton’s biggest adversary has always been her health. Over the past decade she’s dealt with crippling leg cramps, thyroid imbalances, and debilitating allergies, and through it all, she’s tailored her training, travel, and diet as needed to compete at the sport’s highest level. In October, she won her 100th UCI cyclocross race, as she continued to split time between the U.S. and her adopted home in Belgium pursuing a third straight World Cup crown.
Still, Compton, who turns 36 in December, knows her window of opportunity to win a world title is beginning to close. Vos, who is nine years younger, holds two significant advantages — youth, and experience. The Dutch rider, who splits her season between road and ’cross, has seven world cyclocross titles to her name. When it comes to a rainbow jersey, the pressure is on Compton, every world championship one more opportunity to execute a flawless performance against the most impeccable woman to race on two wheels.
Whether Compton’s dream scenario comes true at the world championship in Tabor, Czech Republic, in February, or in Zolder, Belgium, in 2016, or never, it’s something she refuses to dwell on.
“Of course I want to win a world championship. Everyone wants to,” Compton told VeloNews earlier this year. “Especially having been so close. But if it never happens, it doesn’t happen. I have had tons of success, I have overcome a lot of physical issues, and I have been able to win, and do well, and I am pretty proud of that. I’m not going to keep doing this forever, trying to win worlds … one of these days, I’m either going to be retired or I’ll win one. We’ll see. I’m okay with what I have accomplished, and where I am. I am still striving to win worlds, but it’s a hard thing to accomplish.”
A world championship, however, is not everything in pro cycling, and over the last 12 months, Katie Compton has proven to be the most dominant woman in cyclocross, as well as the most dominant North American woman in all of pro cycling.
- Katie Compton was third among elite women while Gage Hecht was fifth among junior men.
- Pauwels Emerges Victorious at 2014 Word Cup in Namur, Nys Doesn’t Start and Van der Haar Finds his World Cup FormNAMUR, Belgium – Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team) took the win at round four of the World Cup in Namur over Lars Van der Haar ... The post Pauwels Emerges Victorious at 2014 Word Cup in Namur, Nys Doesn’t Start and Van der Haar Finds his World Cup Form appeared first on...
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- NAMUR, Belgium – Katerina Nash (Luna Pro) powered her way to the win at the 2014 World Cup in Namur, finishing 34 seconds ahead of ... The post Katerina Nash Beats Returning World Champion Vos in the 2014 World Cup at Namur appeared first on Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Bikes,...
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Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) won the fourth round of the cyclocross World Cup in Namur, Belgium on Sunday.
Wearing the white World Cup leader’s skinsuit, the Belgian made his move on the final lap, and proved to be the most sure-footed on a difficult, hilly course, getting the best of Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano) and Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus).
Early in the race, a group of seven riders broke off the front of the field. The lead group began to slowly pull apart during the first 20 minutes of racing, until Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) attacked with six laps to go. Van der Haar took up the chasing duties, and with a big effort, he bridged alone to the 26-year-old Belgian leader.
Behind, Corné van Kessel (Telenet-FIdea) and Pauwels battled for third place.
When they came through with five laps to go, Van der Haar had faded and was riding with van Kessel and Pauwels.
The chasers persisted and brought Meeusen back, a little over the race’s halfway mark.
With four laps left, van der Haar attacked on one of the course’s many steep hills, early in the lap. The Dutch champion quickly got a gap, and the increased pace caused Meeusen to drop from the chase.
Walsleben, who’d been lurking in fifth place, overtook Meeusen, and soon had the podium in his sights.
On a high-speed descent, van Kessel crashed on a right-hand corner and lost his chance at the podium.
With three to go, van der Haar’s advantage had grown, and Pauwels, the World Cup series leader, chased alone. Walsleben sat in third position.
Undeterred, Pauwels slowly reeled in van der Haar, and by the penultimate lap, the 30-year-old Belgian had returned to the front of the race. Pauwels moved ahead of van der Haar after a trip through the pits. The two traded the lead a few times but waited to attack.
On the final lap, the two leaders slowed a bit, and began to play tactical games, offering Walsleben a ray of hope, as he chased close behind. But it was not meant to be. Pauwels accelerated away from van der Haar and extended his lead on a brutally technical off-camber section.
“Just before the off-camber I felt good, and I had a little gap,” said Pauwels.
Van der Haar was forced to settle for second place, and Walsleben stayed close to finish third.
Now, Pauwels is poised to claim the World Cup series overall. “Two races to go, it’s looking really good. The next two races are really made for me,” he said.
Czech Olympian Katerina Nash (Luna) claimed her first World Cup cyclocross victory of the season on Sunday.
After winning the Czech Republic’s national cyclocross championship title the weekend before, Nash took on a muddy course and a competitive field in Namur, Belgium, the fourth round of the World Cup.
Rabo-Liv’s Marianne Vos captured second place, and American Katie Compton (Trek) rounded out the podium in third.
Until recently, Nash, 37, had raced primarily in the U.S. during the fall season. However, the Luna rider has had no problem stepping up to the international level of competition, besting the reigning world champion, Vos, by 34 seconds.
Compton finished over one minute behind the day’s winner. Belgian Sanne Cant, who held the series lead going into Namur, had a disappointing showing, finishing sixth.
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