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US Cyclo-cross Championships - CN

Providence, RI, USA, December 15-17, 2006

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Race 13 - December 17: Elite Women,  

Complete live report

Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the US National Cyclo-cross championships!

12:30 EST   
We will begin coverage of the Elite Women's race at 1400 EST.

13:51 EST   
The California Giant Strawberry men's non-championship race is underway, and Tim Johnson, who had a disappointing finish yesterday after a first lap flat, is off the front by more than a minute. US National champion Ryan Trebon is chasing, as it was his turn to have the bad luck today. He got a flat early in the race and had to run half a lap.

13:54 EST   
Since the men are still racing, it appears that the women's race will be getting underway about 15 minutes late today.

The weather is still good - skies are a bit overcast, but it's warm and dry, and the course is in perfect condition.

14:08 EST   
Tim Johnson has won the elite men's non-championship ahead of Mark McCormack. National champion Ryan Trebon was well down in fifth place.

14:15 EST   
Johnson said "It was a fast first couple of laps and I was looking around for Trebon - I guess he had a flat or something, I know how that feels after yesterday."

Tim Johnson was happy to win in front of his home crowd after a disappointing race yesterday. He said he wanted to do something special because the races are moving to the midwest for the next couple years.

Riders are still finishing the men's race, so the women are on the sidelines. The Velo Bella and Cheerwine teams are out en force. There are a total of 81 starters in the women's field. They should be starting in about 10 minutes. They'll be lining up by accumulated UCI points - starting with Katie Compton (Spike) our defending national champion, followed by Christine Vardaros (Lotto) who has been racing in Europe all season, and Deidre Winfield who has dominated the races in the mid-atlantic and southeast.

14:19 EST   
Lining up alongside the top three are Maureen Bruno-Roy (Independent Fabrications), Georgia Gould (Luna) who was second in the USGP to Bessette, Amy Wallace (Richard Sachs), Melanie Schwarz (Velo Bella), Rebecca Wellons (Gearworks), Mandy Lozano (Cheerwine) and Melissa Thomas (Maxxis).

14:26 EST   
The women will be starting in just a minute - they're getting their instructions from the race officials. Lots of nervous women are feeling their adrenaline coursing through their veins!

And they're off!!! Georgia Gould immediately pushes the pace down the starting straight. The start is really wide, so these 81 women should get through the first lap safely, and be sorted out be pure power.

14:29 EST   
Compton, Gould, Wellons and then the rest of the field come flying through the turn, and they've already opened up a 20 bike length gap. This course isn't that technical, so the first laps are going to be down to pure suffering - whoever can take the pain that Katie Compton is going to dish out the longest might be able to stay with her.

14:33 EST   
Oh no! There's been a crash, and the rider is down on the course and needs medical attention - they're going to have to redirect the race around the incident.

The Luna chicks are in hot pursuit of Compton, who has left everyone in herr dust - she already has a 15 second gap to Gould. Gould is 20 seconds ahead of a group of about seven riders led by Rhonda Mazza, Winfield and Kerry Barnholt right behind.

Compton is basically pulling the same tactic that Trebon used successfully yesterday, just opening up the gap early and continuing to pour on the power until everyone behind just cracks.

14:40 EST   
The injured rider is Tammy Ebersole (Evolution Racing). She's being treated on the course, has a neck brace on - so perhaps a broken clavicle, but hopefully nothing too serious. Where she crashed wasn't a particularly difficult part of the course, but she left a pretty good divot in the ground.

Compton is still pressing on with Gould in no man's land behind. The first lap of a 'cross race is pure agony - these ladies are going full gas, and the lactic acid builds up quickly. They'll have to settle down into a rhythm and get their heart rates to a sustainable level, or risk blowing up completely.

14:44 EST   
Ebersole is not just a racer, but also a race promoter of the 'Evo cross' race, which helped to raise money for Pancreatic cancer which claimed the life of her brother Todd several years ago.

14:47 EST   
With three laps to go, Katie Compton is holding her lead of about 22 seconds to Gould. She's pushing hard, she knows that she can't let up for even the slightest bit or Gould will make that time up. Barnholt and Winfield are keeping Gould in sight about 15 seconds back, followed by Mazza and then Ann Knapp and Mandy Lozano (Cheerwine).

14:50 EST   
So with two and a half laps remaining, it looks like Compton, barring mechanical or flats, will get her third consecutive US national championship. Although Gould isn't giving up at all yet. The real fight will be for the third step on the podium, since there are five riders within seconds of each other.

Dee Dee Winfield is pushing the pace, opening up small gaps to Barnholt, but Barnholt is holding on for dear life.

14:57 EST   
Gould is working really hard now, getting up out of the saddle and fighting with her bike over each and every rise - giving it all she has but not gaining ground on Compton, who looks smooth and powerful.

Behind, Winfield is doing all the work ahead of mountain biker Kerry Barnholt. Winfield has already proven her abilities this weekend, winning the masters 30-34 race ahead of Mandy Lozano. Lozano is still in the chase group with Knapp and Mazza, and having a pretty good day to be in the top ten.

Knapp, who won the national title in 2002, has been having a low-key year, not chasing the big races. But she still has the goods, and is now leaving Lozano behind.

14:59 EST   
Compton has extended her lead with 2 laps to go to 37 seconds. Gould is still keeping Barnholt and Winfield at bay, and behind, the chase is coming unglued. Everyone is being sorted out by the efforts, and there are gaps between nearly every rider. Mazza has left Knapp behind, and Lozano is still chasing.

15:04 EST   
Kerry Barnholt (Tokyo Joes / Maxxis) has attacked! Winfield is struggling to hold on. Knapp may have sensed the battle going on ahead, because she too puts in a big attack, trying to shake Mazza. She hasn't cracked her yet, but it looks like our podium is starting to shape up.

Compton is continuing to ride in a smooth, powerful and confident manner - perhaps not as effortless as Trebon was yesterday, but nearly as dominant. Gould is still working hard to keep the chase from gaining ground.

15:07 EST   
And Compton wins! Three national championships in a row - but this year, Compton will take her jersey to the world championship in Belgium in January.

15:08 EST   
Georgia Gould comes in second, and will join Compton on the world's team. She left everything out on the course to take that second place. Well behind Gould, Kerry Barnholt and Winfield sprint for third, and Barnholt gets the better of the Velo Bella rider to take third.

15:09 EST   
Ann Knapp shows her class by taking fifth ahead of Rhonda Mazza - Knapp has been at this for years, and rounds out the podium ahead of Christine Vardaros (Lotto-Belisol), Rebecca Wellons (Gearworks/Spinart) and Mandy Lozano (Cheerwine).

15:20 EST   
Thanks to everyone for reading the last live coverage of 2006. Happy holidays to all! The Cyclingnews blimp goes into 'park' now. We've got to turn the keys back over to the long lost Jeff Jones so he can get his rental deposit back. Perhaps in 2007 we'll get something new and different, and not quite as flammable.
Happy New year to everyone!

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