The rain poured down for hours on Sun Prairie making the Planet Bike Cup course a greasy, slippery mudfest especially the off-camber sections and the uphills where traction was a problem. But the conditions didn’t stop Katerina Nash (Luna) from sweeping the weekend races as she once again soloed to the win at the second race of the Exergy US Gran Prix of Cyclocross on Sunday.
The conditions for so bad, with thunder and lightning that the Masters 35+ race, held prior to the Elite Women’s, postponed its start by ten minutes. But by the time the women staged, the sun was out but the damage was done to the course.
Through French National Champion Caroline Mani took the holeshot, the Luna duo of Nash and Georgia Gould quickly separated themselves from the field, getting a gap by the run-up but a bobble on the off-camber section cost Gould who lost the front. Nash was off, never in trouble at the front,never making any big mistakes for the next three laps until she raised her arms once again for victory.
Behind her, Gould continued solo in second place, keeping a good rhythm for her second podium of the weekend. The battle was really happening behind the duo. Nicole Duke (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) was solo in third but mudder Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob’s Red Mill) was closing down on her. The chase was on but Duke was able to hang on for third.
Nash has a commanding lead on the USGP overall going into the next set of races in Fort Collins, in two weekends. Gould is second, Duke third with Meredith Miller (CalGiant) a very close fourth in the standings. Both Gould and Miller reside in Fort Collins and will be extra motivated to do well at home.
Katerina Nash (Luna). “Today was a good day. I didn’t make any big mistakes but I made plenty of little ones.”
About racing in the mud. “There’s always room to improve, it’s always good to go after and watch the men’s race, they sometimes take different lines and they’re a little faster. Even if I win, I always feel like there are things I can work on.”
Georgia Gould (Luna). “In conditions like this, I knew people were going to be making lots of mistakes, people including me and I’d rather be in front messing everybody else up than behind, getting messed up by everyone else. So I tried to get out in front early, it worked out well.”
About the conditions. “It was wet and greasy and slippery, it was who can be the strongest and make the fewest mistakes when you’re at a race like Katerina who doesn’t have any weaknesses, she’s an awesome technical rider and super fit so you can’t afford to make any mistakes, any little mistakes.”
About weather conditions in Fort Collins. “It could be anything at this time of year so you can definitely expect an awesome race, lots of good food and good spectators, it will be awesome.”
Nicole Duke (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com). “I really like these conditions even though we don’t have mud in Boulder. I grew up in Florida and North Carolina and riding in this stuff so I kind of revert back to those times and I enjoy technical riding. The bigger challenge, the better for me.”
About her team support. “In cyclocross it makes a big difference because it is really technical and you need all that support. So to be able to relax and know that everything is taken care of is a huge mental advantage and it just feels good to know that I’m taken care of.”
Top 10 Results
1. Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) 40:15
2. Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) +00:56
3. Nicole Duke (Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com) +01:55
4. Maureen Bruno Roy (Bob’s Red Mill pb Seven Cycles) +02:09
5. Caroline Mani (Fra) +03:22
6. Katherine Sherwin (Stan’s NoTubes Elite Cyclocross) +03:38
7. Meredith Miller (California Giant Cycling) +03:54
8. Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com) +03:56
9. Pepper Harlton (Juventus Cycling Club) +04:46
10. Teal Stetson-Lee (California Giant Cycling) +05:01