After twenty four hours of heavy downpours across St. Louis, MO, racers and fans alike were set to experience what most refer to as “true ‘cross conditions” for the second running of the Gateway Cross Cup. Half a foot of rain turned the soccer fields and baseball diamonds of Heman Park in St. Louis’s University City neighborhood into a veritable swamp that would deliver course conditions typically reserved for the depths of winter.
Both the men’s and the women’s race turned out to be a show of force for their respective winners. Coming into the evening, all eyes were on the powerhouse Raleigh-Clement team, title sponsors of the event and boasting such talents as Belgian stalwart Ben Berden, Nicole Duke and Caroline Mani. The team would not disappoint, taking top spots throughout the evening and putting up a brave fight in the women’s race against the unstoppable Katie Compton (Trek), the eight-time and reigning USA cyclocross champion.
Attacking from the gun in the men’s race, Berden wasted no time taking to the front and powering through the inches deep mud bogs that populated most of the course. Behind him, Jonathan Page gave chase to keep the gap pegged around fifteen seconds. Each lap saw the two leaders locked into a dead heat for the win, with Berden unwilling to cede any of his tenuous lead. Meanwhile, Joshua Johnson of Bissell-ABG-Nuvo pulled clear of the field to lock in third place while the remainder of the group battled between each other for the remaining coveted UCI points. In the end, Berden held his lead to the line, finishing with a flourish by flawlessly bunny hopping the barriers on the final lap. With his win in St. Louis to complement his third place at CrossVegas, Berden assumes the lead in the Cross After Dark series heading into the next round in Cincinnati on November 4th.
The women’s race was yet another demonstration of the ultimate superiority of Compton over the rest of the field. While she remained close to her competitors for the first lap of the forty-five minute race, Compton turned on the gas for lap two and was never seen again. Lap after lap, Compton pulled clear of Duke and KCCX’s Ashley James to take a commanding win. Also noteworthy was Rebecca Much of The Service Course who managed to take fourth place despite holding down a full time day job. With none of the top ten from CrossVegas present in St. Louis, Compton assumes the Cross After Dark overall ahead of its next stop.
With a course universally praised by competitors and a solid and growing fan base, the Gateway Cross Cup looks set to continue its growth and lock its position as a fixture of the ever growing domestic ‘cross circuit.
UCI Elite Women Results
1. Katherine Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
2. Nicole Duke (Raleigh-Clement)
3. Ashley James (KCCX/Fuji)
4. Rebecca Much (The Service Course | World Bicy)
5. Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement)
6. Marne Smiley (Bobs Red Mill Racing)
7. Corrie Osborne (Team Extreme)
8. Carrie Cash (Pedal the Cause)
9. Suzanne Johnson (Michelob Ultra Big Shark)
10. Jennifer Herrell-Rhoades (Trek Cyclocross Collective)
Top 10 UCI Elite Men Results
1. Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement)
2. Jonathan Page ()
3. Joshua Johnson (Bissell-ABG_Nuvo)
4. Travis Livermore (Mock Orange Racing)
5. Bryan Fawley (Dallas Bike Works)
6. Andrew Dillman (Bob’s Red Mill)
7. Allen Krughoff (Raleigh-Clement)
8. Jacob Lasley (Team Soundpony)
9. Joseph Scmalz (Source Endurance)
10. Daniel Miller (Walt’s/Tallgrass)