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Snow, ruts and icy conditions couldn’t keep Katie Compton (Trek – Panache) from winning her 13th straight national cyclocross champion title in Hartfort, Connecticut today.
“It was a technical, tricky course,” commented Compton after the race. “This felt really good. [All national wins] are special and it felt really good to win today.”
While masters and amateur racers earlier in the week had to deal with muddy and slippery conditions, freezing temperatures made the course rock hard and highly technical.
Kaitie Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) took the holeshot but it was Elle Anderson (Elle Anderson Racing) who took the lead in the first lap, making Compton chase. But before the first lap was over, Compton powered past Anderson to take the lead.
As Anderson was choosing to run up the hills, Compton was able to ride them and extend her lead bit by bit. The 38-year-old stayed on the front and was never in danger of losing her lead, and so the battle became for second place.
After taking a spill, Anderson started slipping backwards, allowing last year’s bronze medalist Kaitie Antonneau and Amanda Miller (Boulder Cycle Sport-YogaGlo) to pass her.
Miller took over the chase, trying to decrease the gap to Compton, but Antonneau was never far behind. With two laps to go, the battle of the day was shaping up to be between Antonneau and Miller as Compton extended her lead to a minute.
The cold and technical conditions proved challenging for a lot of riders, and most of the field was riding the course by themselves. And unless someone was going to make a mistake, the results appeared to be set as early as two laps into the race.
Right before the final lap, Compton took a little spill but it proved insignificant for the outcome.
After approximately 50 minutes of racing, Compton crossed the finish line solo, smiling and clapping as she took her 13th straight national title.
Miller stayed clear from Antonneau, coming in second, and Antonneau took bronze for a second year in a row. Anderson and Courtenay McFadden (American Classic) rounded out the honour podium, finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Compton chose to spent less time than usual in Europe this year, hoping that less travel and racing would lead to fewer injuries and other health issues that have plagued her throughout her career. She said it was a good choice as she felt good coming into Nationals and hopes to maintain her fitness for the UCI World Cyclocross Championships in Luxembourg later this month.