US Cyclocross Championships - CN
Providence, RI, USA, December 9-11, 2005
Results & report
Race 16 - December 11: Elite Women,
Commentary by Steve Medcroft
Complete live report
Good afternoon world. Welcome to a
sunny and picture-perfect New England winter day here in Providence. OUr live
coverage of the Elite Women's race at the Liberty Mutual U.S. Cyclocross Natonal
Championships will begin at 2:15pm Easter Standard Time; about one hour from
While we wait, here's a little background:
degrees (Farenheit), the course has developed deceptive qualities today. It
appears sloppy and muddy but to the touch, the ground underneath the mud is
actually firm. The ruts that had been cut into the turf from something like
1,200 racers over the past two days are firm but hidden underneath an inch-thick
layer of mud the consistency of something I'd rather not mention (but is usually
indicative of illness).
Racing was exciting yesterday. In both the
Elite men's and Elite U23 race, the defending champions were unseated. Interestingly
enough, both champions fell to brothers from the same family.
Jesse Anthony was going for his seventh natioal championship in a row but suffered
a first-lap flat and lost position early. Although Anthony has always been dominant
enough to recover from an early deficit, 2005 USGP U23 phenom Tory Wells stayed
on the rivet at the front of the race and took the championship for himself.
In the Elite Men's race Jonathan Page was expected to repeat for his fourth
championship. But after an intercontinental flight from Belgium, he picked up
some food poisining and spent the night before the race being fed fluids intravenously.
He said "I basically hadn't anything since seven Friday morning." Although he
miraculously stayed in contact with the front two (Ryan Trebon and Todd Wells)
he just couldnt match Wells' constant acceleration and finished third.
While you're waiting for the women's race to start, cruise on over to the race
reports and excellent photography from Saturday (menu on the upper left).
On the racecourse right now is the
Liberty Cup; an interesting format race organizers put together to showcase
cyclocross. In the race is every male national champion from the weekend and
a field of about 150 invited rider; every major name in U.S. 'cross.
Todd Wells is 40 seconds off the front. He is putting on an amazing display
of preperation this weekend. Natural ability can only take you so far. Training
can only take you so far. Desire can only take you so far. Nutrition and physical
therapy can only take you so far. It is an amazing feat to put it all together
at exactly the right moment. Wells deserves every good result that has come
to him this weekend.
But despite Wells' dominance, the racer getting
most attention from the rowdy crowd down at the beer garden is Canadian National
Champion and the only woman in the race; Lyne Bessette. She's in the race at
the promoter's invitation and riding smoothly somewhere deep in the field.
In preparation for the women's race,
we spoke to Barb Howe as she was keeping warm in her van before taking the course
for her warm up:
"I think it will be good. I've had a lot of fun
riding around. It's a funny course ecause it's so long. We're probably only
going to do like four laps. I'm going to try to be smooth and consistent. Keep
my bike up."
Barb, who writes a diary for CN, says she'll be keeping
her eye on Ann knapp, Georgia Gould, Rhonda Mazza among other.
We also spoke to Ann Knapp, the Kona-spopnsored
former cyclocross national champion who is known for doing well in technical
courses that feature a lot of running (as this one does):
prepared a lot but I have prepared a little. I wasn't really sure if I was going
to do 'cross this season and I can't take time off work without giving notice
so I had to pick my travel races carefully. I rode the course on Friday in the
pouring rain. I like the shape of the course. I like the flow of the course.
It's well designed and has good ups and downs. There's some road, there's some
running so I don't think it favors anybody."
About her chances, she
said, "I'm going to participate to the best of my ability. I know I've been
in better shape before. I'll do what I can."
We also caught up with Women's Master's
30-34 national champion Maureen Bruno-Roy:
"I'm feeling pretty good.
I hear they changed the course a little bit (organizers cut a couple of dual-lane
sections down to one lane and cleaned some turf damage). I feel like you can
really get a rhythm on this course. There's a good mix of technical riding and
road. It's really fun out there and I'm looking forward to it."
The rider that no-one has seen this
weekend is defending national champion Katie Compton. Compton came from the
back row to upset the favorites and take last year's race after racing all season
in local (Colorado) men's races. We have heard nothing about her condition,
her preperations or her plans for the race but she's on the start list and you
can be sure that she knows she won;t be able to hide in obscurity this year.
It should an exciting race.
Wells just won the Liberty Cup. He
commented that the course is "full of ruts and way sketchier than yesterday."
Tim Johnson took second. Adam Craig, his entire front side covered in mud, took
third. Mark McCormack and Erik Tonkin rounded out the podium.
Bessette pulled out after three laps; happy to get in a solid training ride.
Just because we know there are Armed
Forces fans checking in from around the world, your Armed Forces Champion Michael
Gallagher finished eigth.
14:21 EST 1mins/39mins to go
The Elite women
are off. Marueen (Mo) Bruno-Roy has the lead and Ann Knapp is grabbing her wheel.
The field is stretchig out behind them.
Katie Compton, because she didn't
enter any UCI races and recieved no UCI points, started back in the bunch and
will have to work her way through a field that knows who she is and won't let
a race with her in the lead develop to win.
Compton, of course, doesn't enter
UCI races because she competes in the Paralympics as the pilot to a blind track-racing
tandem team. Paralympics rules prohibit competition in any UCI event.
Compton has worked her way through
the field and is in front of the race. Only Ann Knapp is staying with her. The
pair have gapped Bruno-Roy.
Through the first lap, Compton is
in the lead. Knapp is 16 seconds behind. Bruno-Roy is at 25 seconds. There's
huge gap to fourth place.
Barbra Howe is off the back of the
lead three, about a minute behind Compton. Two truly amazing efforts have set
the tone for this Elite race. Katie Compton's unbelievable performance in the
first half of the first lap - to pull herself through the crowds to get to the
front of the race despite thirty rider's efforts to hold her back and Maureen
Bruno-Roy's blistering pace setting that stretched the women's field into a
long, twisted string from the gun.
14:36 EST 15mins/25mins to go
Ann Knapp, mouth
wide open, is trying her best to close the gap to Compton in the technical sections
but Compton is focused and powerful on the flatter sections of the course and
the gap continues to hold.
14:41 EST 19mins/21mins to go
Katie Compton has
blown this race apart. The second of five laps is complete and she has opened
up 35 seconds on Knapp and more than a minute back to hurtigng Bruno-Roy.
14:42 EST 22mins/18mins to go
Rhonda Mazza has
managed to recover from the early effort and get onto the wheel of Bruno-Roy
setting up a fight for fourth on the course.
14:43 EST 23mins/17mins to go
is sitting fifth with Barbara Howe and Georgia Gould together about thirty seconds
During an interview last year, Compton
said "I was on the junior national team and raced a little bit at the elite
level, in college and right after. I raced mountain bikes for an east coast
team (Trek/VW Regional) but mostly I did track and road and tried to hit the
biggest races on the east coast I could get to. I did some ‘cross too."
Compton lives in Colorado Springs
and is racing in Redline gear today. Coming through the start/finish line, she
has one lap to go (I must have been off in my lap counts previously) She is
splattered with mud like all riders have been today but not as dirty as many
of the women in the race. Her head is down, her hands are in the drops and her
eyes are laser-focused on the road in front of her.
14:52 EST 30mins/10mins to go
Knapp is though
the start/finish. She is out of the saddle, working the bike to pick up any
speed and momentum she can to get on Compton's wheel but at this point, since
she is at least a minute back, only fate could put Knapp in front of Compton.
14:53 EST 32mins/8mins to go
Mazza and Bruno-Roy
are still dueling for third, a minte back of Knapp.
14:54 EST 34mins/6mins to go
Compton is getting
safer and safer by the moment. Through the most technical sections of the course,
there is nothing but daylight between her and a repeat national championship.
In the battle for third, Bruno-Roy has managed to gap Mazza after Mazza took
a couple of momentum-killing spills on the firm and slick course.
14:56 EST 35mins/5mins to go
Mazza seems to have
been shaken by the course and Bruno-Roy has capitalized; openning a hundred-meter
gap on the Team S&M/Vanilla Bikes rider.
15:00 EST 38mins/2mins to go
Compton has done
it; back-to-back national championships. She looks breathless and relieved as
she crosses the finish line. In her one and only Elite Women's race of the season,
she wins the national championship.
Who needs a front-row call-up.
Knapp has just come through for the
At the finsh, Compton says she hopes to keep coming
back and create a dynasty in U.S. women's 'cross.
The battle for third, between Bruno-Roy
and Rhonda Mazza is heading for the final straight. Bruno-Roy, a former Siogneur
for Saturn, is leading.
15:06 EST 40mins/0mins to go
Bruno-Roy has won
the bronze medal.
Fourth, Rhonda Mazza
Fifth, Melissa Thomas
Sixth, Barbara Howe
Seventh, Georgia Gould
Eigth, Brigette Stoick
Ninth, Amy Wallace
Tenth, Josie Beggs
Thanks for tuning into Cyclingnews
for live coverage of the 2005 U.S. Cyclocross National Championships from Providence,
Rhode Island. We're signing off so we can go catch the Elite women at the podium
and get their reactions and comments to today's exciting race.
back later tonight for a full race report, results and camera-loads of pictures
from Ed Collier, Marek Lazarski and Keli Medcroft.
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