There really was no question as to who was the strongest in the Elite Women’s field this weekend at the Greenware US Gran Prix of Cyclcoross Derby City Cup presented by Papa John’s Pizza. It was simply and smoothly Georgia Gould (Luna).
After watching the early races with the bobbles and crashes early in the laps, Gould went straight to the front and led wire to wire to sweep the weekend races. After one lap, she had a gap of 10 seconds on the closest chaser which then grew to 25 seconds to over one minute and tp almost two minutes by the time she crossed the finish line beaming with her huge smile. She owned the course and the rest of the field ate her dust, literally with drought-conditions making the course extremely dusty.
The battle was on behind her for the remaining podium spots. As soon as Gould started to power away, Natasha Elliott (Garneau-Club Chaussures) jumped and started to chase solo, but she “started to play the look-behind game” and crashed before the green monster fly-over which dropped her down the field.
After a slow start, Meredith Miller (CalGiant) had made her way up to and was leading the chase group with Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) and Nicole Duke (Hudz-Subaru). Duke fell off the pace which left Miller and Van Gilder to battle it out, once again. Meanwhile, behind them Elliott was pushing a hard pace riding like a women possessed to catch up and she had the duo in her sights.
Setting the pace for most of the time, Miller heard the crowd scream on the Selle Italia runup and hit it hard to get a small gap on Van Gilder. She upped the pace on the off-camber sandpit and the gap was 10 seconds with one lap to go. And it stayed that way until the end, Gould claimed the win, Miller was second and Van Gilder third.
Elliott almost caught Van Gilder but crashed once again and had to settle for fourth. Miller was awarded the SRAM Most Aggressive prize for her ride on Sunday.
Georgia Gould (Luna). “It was a little harder to get into a rhythm because as soon as you got going, there was another turn, and then you’d get going. It was still really fun, well, in retrospect while you’re doing it ‘oh this is really hard’ but when you cross the finish line ‘oh that was fun’.” (laughs)
Meredith Miller (CalGiant). “Man I just got a bad start, I don’t know I was a little too complacent. I let too many people go in front of me and then I can’t even remember if it was the first lap or second lap, I augured coming off the little bump before the barriers, ran into a post, had to pick myself up and ‘aaaahh’ get going again. Luckily it was early enough that I had the time to come back.”
About the battle for second. “I caught Nicole and Laura and I’m not sure what happened to Nicole I think we just rode her off. And then, I got with Laura and I was like ‘Come on Laura, come around me’, and she did a little bit.. So I came around again and coming up the Selle Italia runup, it sounded like the reaction from the crowd was she must have put a foot down or something so I had a little gap and so I knew I had to drill it through the sand and came out with a pretty good gap there. Then it was just maintaining and keeping it steady.”
How satisfied are you about the weekend? “Pretty good. I known that Georgia is riding strong right now and I knew that she would be the one to watch out for so I don’t think anyone out here can beat her right now obviously and so to finish second to her, I’m pretty happy with that. Yesterday ‘huh’, given the circumstances and what happened and fighting back from that, I’m okay with it now, I wasn’t yesterday. Finishing second today, that makes it all better or a little bit better.”
Laura Van Gilder (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes). “I was pretty maxed out today, a lot and when I was with Meredith I knew I had to watch my Ps and Qs. On the sod hill, she just stalled out a little bit, I was over-geared on her wheel and then I had to unclip to finish the hill. If Meredith gets any opportunity to get a gap on me, she can just gas it, I was just unable to close it. Again I just needed to hold to third, I knew that Natasha was going to fight back and I knew that she was probably going to fight back and attack me and I think we were together, I thin she had a bobble somewhere and I was able to come around and I was able to hold her off. I’m really pleased, two podiums at a USGP I’ve never done that. I was fifth her the first year, two fifth places the first year [two years ago]. It’s been a great season, I’m having a lot of fun and I hope I can just continue to be on the podium and fight it out with the top women, it’s very competitive.”
Racing mostly in New England after this? “Probably yes. The Mid-Atlantic again. It’s expensive to travel and you have to just pick and choose. I would like to support the NACT and I would like to support the USGP so we’ll see. If I can find some cheap tickets maybe I’ll do some of those. But we have great racing on the east coast so it’s great to be there too.”
Natasha Elliott (Garneau-Club Chaussures). “I really went for it and I tried to reel Georgia back in, I was the only one trying to do that and then I got a little sloppy, I started playing the look behind game and I wasn’t looking forwards and hit some stakes, crashed in a couple of spots. I crashed in the corner right before the monster, dropped a chain, got back on but then it wasn’t on then got back off, put it on and Meredith and Laura went by me. I gave it at the end there and almost got Laura again with one lap to go and screwed up another corner. I was giving it.”
About her form after her long bout with illness. “My start is coming back, that’s always positive because once you go to Europe, that’s more important than the second half of the race is really getting out of the trouble. Like last year my second day were always terrible, with all the crashes and how much time I lost today and dropping my chain and still come fourth I think that’s a pretty good showing.”
Top 10 Elite Women Results
1. GOULD Georgia (LUNA PRO TEAM) 38:59
2. MILLER Meredith (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) 40:52
3. VAN GILDER Laura (C3 Athletes Serving Athletes) 41:07
4. ELLIOTT Natasha (Garneau Club Chaussure-Ogilvy) 41:26
5. STETSON-LEE Teal (California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized) 41:33
6. SHERWIN Katherine (Hudz-Subaru) 41:34
7. DUKE Nicole (Hudz -Vista Subaru) 41:51
8. HARLTON Pepper (Juventus Cycling Club) 41:58
9. ANTONNEAU Kaitlin (Team Kenda) 42:26
10. BRUNO ROY Maureen (Bob’s Red Mill/Seven) 42:47