“I was fired up for racing and I just wanted to go out and make it hard.” Georgia Gould (Luna) said after day 1 of the Derby City Cup presented by Papa John’s Pizza in Louisville. And that’s exactly what she did, riding smoothly through the sandpit, avoiding the chaos behind and powered away from the field for the win. And with that, Gould now holds the lead in the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclcoross.
Natasha Elliott (Garneau-Club Chaussure) soloed to second place and Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) took the sprint for third.
Gould, who loved the new course at the also new Eva Bandman Park Cyclocross Venue was going faster and faster every lap increasing her gap to one minute and then over two minutes by the time she crossed the finish line, savoring her victory.
The pace was fast immediately from the gun with the riders rushing to be first over the BMX whoop that was quickly followed by the barriers. One of the many difficulties on the course that took full advantage of the natural features afforded by the new venue including a sand dune section and steep run up and drops. Added to that was the Green Monster Fly-Over. Carrie Cash Wooten (Team VBF) took the holeshot but Elliott quickly came to the front to establish a gap that went up to 10 seconds the field led by Gould was closing down on the Canadian. Then Elliott bobbled badly in the sandpit, Meredith Miller (CalGiant) and other riders went down while Gould seem to glide away.
A chase group quickly organized which included Elliott, Van Gilder, Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com), Nicole Duke (The Gear Movement) and Kathy Sherwin (Hudz-Subaru). Behind them, Miller was surging up from 20th place after pitting to get a new bike. Elliott stayed with the group for about two laps and after catching back on after a crash, made her way to the front to get a gap of 10 seconds, a gap she would hold until the end to finish second. The battle was now on for third place between Van Gilder, Antonneau, Duke, Sherwin and Miller who chased back with one and a half laps to go.
Van Gilder crested the green monster and stayed at the front to finish third in front of Antonneau and Miller.
Racing continues on Sunday at the Eva Bandman Cyclocross venue with the Elite Women starting at 1:45pm. Follow all the action on @podium_live
Georgia Gould (Luna). “I really like the course and I haven’t been racing and I was fired up for racing and I just wanted to go out and make it hard. I passed Natasha in the sandpit, I was closing it down and in the sandpit she bobbled and I ended going around there.”
‘You know it’s a hard course when the easiest part if the green monster’. That’s a Francis Haley quote. She did race earlier and they had to do two laps. This is a hard course and she goes ‘the easiest part was the green monster’. (laughs) That’s when you know it’s a hard course. She was like ‘that was hard’. I said you stayed in, you finished.
About the course. It’s fast, there’s a lot of pedaling. There’s a few times off the bike so you have to be smooth off and on the bike. There’s lot of elevation changes, it’s loose, there’s a lot of different stuff going on, definitely keeps you on your toes.
About leading the USGP. USGP is definitely my goal, one of my goals for the season and I’m always happy to show up here and Louisville is always a great race. Such an awesome cycling community here and I always look forwards to coming back, catching up with everyone, seeing how many feet the little kids have grown. (laughs)
Natasha Elliott (Garneau-Club Chaussure-Ogilvy). “I had a pretty good gap going into the sand and I flew into it, you have to be ready to jump off because it shuts you down right away. And then I bobbled with the girls and I crawled back up to them and as soon as I was with them, I dropped them. I realized I was always at the front in certain spots, it was by the way I was taking things, it wasn’t by attacking.”
About being in no-mans land. “I was a little worried, I just kept putting my head down. I think I was doing a lot of the technical sections faster than them, I wasn’t good at the runup, I had a little bit of trouble on the last runup but I just tried to keep the flow, every time I lost speed I just tried to run with my bike and get it back on and not make the damage too big.”
Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes). “The first lap felt like controlled chaos, or maybe uncontrolled chaos. I got the barriers and I caught air, then I smashed into the barriers, I smashed my bike twice into both barriers and at one point I thought I was just going to be dragging it behind me for the whole lap, ‘oh this is so bad’ and at that point Natasha had gotten a gap so we were all fighting to get back to her We re-assembled and got to the sand and again, chaos. Georgia got through it clean, Meredith went down hard, got tangled with someone, maybe it was Natasha. I ran into Meredith but was able to hold on to my bike, I knew I could get back on it, someone hit me and we came out of the sand and remounted our bikes and Georgia was on her bike and part way to the green monster at that point. Little mistakes add up at the beginning like that because we’re all pushing to get back. I think several other bobbles by people in various places just contributed to her lead. Then it solidified in our group, then I had to pit, that was at the point I was with Natasha but it opened a gap that I was unable to close.”
About Miller catching back on with about 1.5 laps to go. “It felt like it closer to one but I felt that we had kind of eased slightly and I was just hopeful that she had pushed it, I knew that she was going to sit back there and take advantage of catching her breath, and I was just waiting for an attack. It didn’t happen so I was playing defensive to remain at the front because it’s pretty difficult in spots. I crested the green monster first and fought to stay up there, I felt that that was going to be my best advantage.”
About tomorrow. “It’s funny, the course didn’t feel as hard in warmup as it did in the race. It felt hard but when someone of the start line said four dismounts per lap, I thought ‘okay that puts it in perspective, it’s going to add up’. Because they are all powerful dismounts, the run up, the dirt hill, the run through the sand, quite long, the barriers. And then the [other] sandpit wasn’t a dismount but it was a powerful section so I think that added up and then the straight sections were where you wanted to move up. It added up and I had gotten that advice from some of the juniors that it started to feel hard. It will be interesting to see how tomorrow’s course is because it’s going to be different for all of us, we won’t get to pre-ride it.”
Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com). “A bunch of them crashed in the sand pit, I just went around that. After that the group formed, I just tried to stay, hang in there with them like I did the last week in Ohio because I was like ‘I did then, there is no reason I can’t do it again’. So I tried that. I went to the front a couple of times but I wanted to be careful because I didn’t want to burn all my matches. It went back and forth. I think Laura went in the pit and then Natasha accelerated really hard and I couldn’t match that. So then, I was like okay, just stay focused and stay on Laura for a while and then Meredith got back to us. On the last lap, they really turned it on, second time through the pit I was really hurting and I was off the back a little bit but then through that last section, ‘okay we’re almost done’. I passed Meredith and sprinted. I’m really happy with that [4th place].”
Top 10 Elite Women Results
1. Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)
2. Natasha Elliott (Garneau-Club Chaussure-Ogilvy)
3. Laura Van Guilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes)
4. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld.com)
5. Meredith Miller (California Giant Berries / Specialized)
6. Kathy Sherwin (HUDZ Subaru)
7. Nicole Duke (The Gear Movement)
8. Teal Stetson-Lee (California Giant Berries/ Specialized)
9. Pepper Harlton (Juventus Cycling Club)
10. Amanda Cary (Kenda / Felt)