BOULDER, Colorado (VN) – Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek/Knight) and Lance Haidet (Donnelly Aevolo) powered to victory on day one of the UCI C2 Shimano/Floyd’s of Leadville U.S. Open of Cyclocross in the cycling-crazed town of Boulder, Colorado.
The women’s race on Saturday spanned multiple generations with prodigy and local fan favorite Madigan Munro (Boulder Junior Cycling) lining up on the front row alongside 15-time national champion Compton. Munro is 17 years old, Compton is 40.
French national champion Caroline Mani (Point S Auto p/b Nokian Tyres) grabbed the holeshot, as the dust kicked up on the gravel start/finishing straight. Munro wasted little time getting to the front and pushing the pace to the delight of the crowd.
However, by the end of the opening lap, Compton demonstrated she is coming into form and nearly fully recovered from a fractured elbow. The injury, which occurred in early August, severely hampered Compton at the opening two rounds of the World Cup in Iowa City and Waterloo.
Once Compton opened a gap on the rest of the field, it was a lead she would not relinquish for the rest of the six-lap race. Behind, Munro was in a tight battle with Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX). Honsinger has been a force to be reckoned with to start the season. She finished an impressive third and fourth at the two World Cup rounds in September. Mani chased alone in fourth with Samantha Runnels (Squid X Eliel) and Sunny Gilbert (Pactimo/Colorado Proud) just behind her.
The battle for second place would stay tight until the penultimate lap when Honsinger was able to dispatch Munro. Meanwhile, Gilbert was charging and threatening Mani to capture fourth on the day. She would come up just short.
Compton’s win is a great confidence builder for her as she heads to Europe on Monday. She will not be racing on Sunday, the second day of the U.S. Open of Cyclocross.
“I’m finally getting my rhythm,” Compton told Velonews after the race. “By the last two laps I got the lines dialed in and was feeling better and getting the shifting and braking down. It’s all coming together and I’m feeling better. Hopefully, now I can go to Belgium with one good race under me and carry some momentum.”
On the men’s side, the hierarchy was set less than two laps into the race. Haidet, Gage Hecht (Donnelly Aevolo), Eric Brunner (Blue-Stages Racing), and Grant Ellwood (Pivot-Maxxis-Stan’s NoTubes) sped away from the rest of the field. Haidet and Hecht continuously traded attacks off the front throughout the first half of the race. However, Ellwood and Brunner continued to hang tough.
The race heated up immensely after the quartet saw four laps to go. Brunner crashed and Hecht punctured on the lap, leaving Ellwood and Haidet in the lead. Hecht never gave up though and bridged across to the leading duo just as the riders saw two laps to go. He didn’t stop there and attacked straight away.
While Hecht pushed on alone in the lead on the penultimate lap, Brunner made contact with Haidet and Ellwood. Hecht’s lead was just a handful of seconds midway through the lap.
As Dave Towle’s famous “one-to-go” rant blared across Valmont Bike Park it was still anybody’s race to win. Haidet, Hecht, and Brunner were together with Ellwood just behind. The leading trio would enter the finishing straight within a few bike lengths of each other. Haidet took the sprint with Hecht giving Donnelly-Aevolo a 1-2 finish on the day. Brunner took third and Ellwood rolled across the line in fourth. Cody Cupp (SET Coaching) rounded out the five-deep podium.
“It was pretty awesome out there,” an enthusiastic Haidet said after the race. “We went into it like ‘dude we’re gonna go 1-2. We’re gonna go 1-2.’ Seeing that it played out that way is pretty sweet.
“Out there we definitely took control of the race and made it our own. We were attacking where we each wanted to attack. Grant and Eric were riding super strong, so it was definitely hard, but it was pretty fun.”
U.S Open of Cyclocross Day 1
- Katie Compton (KFC Racing p/b Trek/Knight), 47:41
- Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX), at 0:24
- Madigan Munro (Boulder Junior Cycling), at 0:30
- Caroline Mani (Point S Auto p/b Nokian Tyres), at 1:47
- Sunny Gilbert (Pactimo/Colorado Proud), at 1:57
- Lance Haidet (Donnelly Aevolo), 57:14
- Gage Hecht (Donnelly Aevolo), at 0:01
- Eric Brunner (Blue-Stages Racing), at 0:03
- Grant Ellwood (Pivot-Maxxis-Stan’s NoTubes), at 0:43
- Cody Cupp (SET Coaching), at 1:32