KOKSIJDE, Belgium (VN) — Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) won the third round of the UCI World Cup here on Saturday.
Despite a crash in the deep, damp sand of Koksijde — an obstacle that claimed more than one victim — the U.S. national cyclocross champion took the victory by nearly 90 seconds ahead of Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) with Sanne Cant (Veldritacademie Enertherm-BKCP) third.
“I actually got a good start and fell into the top five or six or so. I just tried to have a smooth beginning and then was able to move to the front on one of the turns,” said Compton. “I was stuck in traffic for the initial half-lap, and then I ran a section near the pit.
“Once I had an open course, I just tried to be smooth up and down the sand and just pedal. On this kind of course there’s not a lot of tactics involved, you just try to go as hard as you can.”
Harris said she initially tried to match Compton’s effort, but had to dial it back a bit.
“I tried to stay with Katie, but I just couldn’t go any faster and we still had four or five laps to go, so I just tried to ride my own race,” she said. “I was kind of happy to be on my own because you can see all the ways you can go, and if you have a clean line in the sand you can ride it, so that makes it a little easier.”
Harris was briefly challenged in mid-race by Lucie Chainel-Lefèvre (BH-SR Suntour), but had her well in hand by the bell lap. Chainel-Lefèvrewent on to finish fourth behind the surging Cant, who bounced back from 10th at the end of the first lap to second by the finish.
American Amy Dombroski (Telenet-Fidea) missed an automatic worlds-team selection by just one place on Saturday, finishing 11th, two places behind teammate Pavla Havlikova.
“I had another bad start but I was moving up all the time,” she said. “Pavla and I both crashed, so we were caught way out, but I just tried to follow Pavla for a little bit.
“I feel like if I had just been a little closer in the sand, I might have had 10th. But when it came to the sprint I just had nothing, so I definitely left it all out there.”
Compton leads the World Cup with 170 points. Sanne Van Paassen (Rabobank) sits second with 130, tied on points with third-placed Harris.
Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this report.