Compton's Dominance in Providence
By ROZ PULEO
Katie Compton comes back for
another national title
photo: Chris Milliman
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (December 17, 2006) Katie Compton (Spike Professional Team/Primus Mootry) continued her dominance of the US cyclo-cross circuit by winning her third overall national title at the California Giant Berry Farms USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross Championships. Compton accelerated ahead of second place winner and reigning US National Mountain Bike Champion Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB Team) after the second turn of the first lap and never looked back.
"I wanted to get out in front and pick the lines. It is such a fun course, so I wanted to just stay on the gas and take advantage of the fun factor. It was a lot easier this year since I was on the front line and there was no snow," said Compton, referring to the tough conditions of last year's national championships.
Gould had a blistering start off the line, pushing a fast pace for the rest of the field to contend with. Only Compton could answer her pace, leaving Gould in sole ownership of second place throughout the race.
"It was kind of like a time-trial out there as opposed to a race", explained Gould, who opened up a big gap on the rest of the field within the first lap.
While the races for first and second lacked a bit of drama, the fight to round out the podium gave the crowd some nail-biting action. Kerry Barnholt (Tokyo Joe's/Maxxis), Deidre Winfield (Velo Bella-Kona), Rhonda Mazza (Team S&M/Vanilla Bicycles), Rebecca Wellons (Gearworks/Spin Arts Cycling), Christine Vardaros (Lotto-Belisol Ladies Team), and Ann Knapp (Kona) fought until the very end for third, fourth and fifth place.
In the end, Barnholt sprinted ahead of Winfield for third while Knapp hammered it home in fifth.
"DeeDee and I are really evenly matched and we both took pulls to keep ahead into the last lap," said Barnholt. "I got to the pavement ahead of her and I was able to stay in front but it was a hard race until the end."
Knapp had to fight her way up from a sixth row start to a fifth place finish.
"I was the most nervous I've been all year. I thought I would start in the second row, but when I didn't, I was like, "Whew, the pressure is off!' I started in the sixth row and from there, there is nowhere to go but up," said Knapp.
Nice Guys DO Finish First
Johnson Collects the Win for the California Giant Strawberry Cup
by JACKSON WEBER
Tim Johnson gets more than a few
cheers from the hometown crowd
photo: Chris Milliman
New England native Tim Johnson (Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld.com) gave his local fans something to cheer about today as he took off from the front in the California Giant Strawberry Cup and sailed away from all chasers on the final day of the Cal Giant Cyclo-cross Nationals. The Strawberry Cup is a pageant race to showcase the newly crowned champions and select athletes. For Johnson, who punctured the day before in the pro men's nationals, the Strawberry Cup provided sweet revenge.
"I had a blast out there," said the good-natured Johnson. "I was definitely disappointed after yesterday - all I wanted to do was try and race with Ryan."
While Johnson rode away from the field, the rest of the riders enjoyed what for many would be the final race of the season. Local rider Matt White (Fiordifruitta) became the crowd favorite as he bunny-hopped the barriers each lap, while newly-crowned U23 national champion, Jesse Anthony (Team CLIF BAR), took time to slap five with fans as he crossed the barriers.
Behind Johnson, another local rider, Mark McCormack (Team CLIF BAR) battled it out with Jonathan Baker (Harshman Wealth Management/Primus Mootry) for second place. In his final race as a professional, McCormack, a mainstay of the New England racing scene, closed out his career by out-sprinting Baker for second.
Driscoll Battles Back
In the dogfight of the day, Jamey Driscoll (UVM) rode his way to a much-deserved victory in the Men's Collegiate race after having to settle for fourth in yesterday's U23 race. A true intercollegiate battle, the race saw riders from all over the country show up for a chance to represent their schools and a chance to earn the Stars-and-Stripes jersey.
Midway through the first lap, Troy Wells (Fort Lewis College) joined with Driscoll, Joey Thompson (Fort Lewis College), Bjorn Selander (University of Wisconsin-River Falls), and a previously unknown Ryan Iddings (Seattle Pacific University), to form what would be the major move of the day. The quintet of riders quickly distanced themselves from the rest of the field as Troy Wells drove the pace in an attempt to set up his teammate Joey Thompson for the win. Wells' efforts nearly paid off as he stripped Selander then Iddings from the group, however Wells soon became the next casualty of the high pace when Driscoll attacked with two laps to go, leaving only himself and Thompson in contention for the win.
B fields break records as rider numbers soar
Possibly the greatest sign that cyclo-cross is growing in the U.S. had little to do with the celebrated elite fields. The Men's and Women's B (amateur) fields stunned race promoters with numbers never before seen at cyclo-cross nationals. In fact, the Men's B had such a higher turnout than previous seasons that promoters were forced to create an Under 35 category and an over-35 category to contain the 368 racers. The Women's B field also showed impressive growth with 62 riders toeing the line for what was the biggest Women's B field this season as well.