Reigning US U23 National Champion Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) has been on a tear lately, finishing top 10 in 11 UCI races including her second place this past Sunday at USGP Derby City Cup. With the deepest and strongest field so far this year, 19-year old Antonneau was able to outsmart and out-sprint three of the top women cyclocross racers in North America to take second.
Only one rider was faster than Antonneau that day, her coach and seven-time and reigning US Cyclocross Champion Katie Compton (Rabobank Giant).
That begged the question when will Antonneau be battling and beating Compton? “Hopefully, it can wait a little bit longer.” laughed Compton. “Ten years from now hopefully.”
On the very hard course at Eva Bandman Park in Louisville, Antonneau made her move on the final corner.
“I wanted to come onto the pavement so I just tried really hard to get into that last section first, and when I got onto the pavement, I just sprinted as fast as I could. She came around but I just tried.” Antonneau said in her understated way after the race.
First onto the road to the finish line, Antonneau was able to hold off USGP leader and second on the UCI World Ranking Katerina Nash (Luna) who was charging behind her.
“As we came into the last lap, it was just obvious that we were just going to go for it, I certainly tried, I put up a good fight with little Kaitie and she was just stronger to the line, made me work for it. I’m excited about my third place.” Nash said.
After a fast start, the field split under pressure of Compton who powered away on the second lap to solo to another victory. Behind her a chase group organized with Meredith Miller (CalGiant), Nicole Duke (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld.com) and Nash.
Antonneau chased and chased. “I was dangling off the back of them for a while and then I finally caught them in the sand with two to go. Then I went to the front going back to the pit the last time, Katerina and I went back and forth a couple of times and then in that last section, I went to the front.”
Coach Compton. A great weekend for Antonneau with a third and second place with her coach Compton sweeping, again, the races. It was hard to say who was more excited about Antonneau’s racing.
“It is exciting and yes I give her guidance but it’s all her. She’s the one that is putting the hard work into it, doing everything that she needs and has the talent. Its my guidance but she’s pedaling the bike still, I’m excited.” said Compton.
The pair pre-rode the course together, stopping at each technical section to discuss the best approach to take.
“The best in the world. I learn a lot from her, she helps me so much.” Antonneau said about Compton.
Antonneau also had a very strong ride on Saturday where she surged up once again to pick riders off one by one to take third.
“I’m so happy to see her riding well. Just getting stronger and stronger. She’s got all her good years in front of her, she’s got a great head on her shoulders and really good, strong mentally.” Compton told podiuminsight after the race on Saturday.