Katie Compton (Spike Shooter) and world champion Erwin Vervecken (Fidea Assurance) took two very different paths to winning their respective races at the Whitmore’s Landscaping Super Cross Cup on Saturday in Southampton, New York.
Vervecken did battle with three reigning national champions — American Ryan Trebon (Kona-YourKey), Canadian Greg Reain (RWR-Colnago-Time) and German Malte Urban (Heinz von Heiden) — and it proved to be a fight to the finish for the jet-lagged rainbow jersey.
Compton, meanwhile, took a 19-second lead in the first lap of the women’s race, and once Canadian Lyne Bessette (Cyclocrossworld.com) popped a chain on lape three, that was all she wrote.
Yanks give Vervecken a warm welcome
The Americans, particularly Trebon, Barry Wicks (Kona) and Tim Johnson (Leer-Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com) made things hot for the world champ.
“I’ve raced five times before in the U.S., and this was the hardest,” said Vervecken. “I knew from before when I came to America that the first day is the hardest, and my legs weren’t the best. But that was hard.” The four were joined by Urban and Matt White (Fiordifrutta) during the first half. Trebon crashed on the lead-up to the 20 percent hill on lap two, but was able to ride back up to the leaders. Then, with five laps to go, Trebon dropped his chain, and everybody thought he was done, but he electrified the crowd with a massive effort to rejoin his teammate Wicks and leader Vervecken with two laps to go.
The two towering riders worked over the world champion as they have so often done to their domestic competition, before Trebon fell back on the last lap.
“My legs were done from the two chases,” he said later. “I knew I wasn’t going to win, I just wanted to get up there and help Barry.”
It was a one-on-one duel in the sun between Wicks and Vervecken for the final half lap. Wicks led through the woods and onto the long, paved road with Vervecken on his wheel. Wicks was still leading through the final, 45-degree corner onto the flat finishing straight when Vervecken made a daring move to the inside with 40 meters to go and took the win by less than a bike length.
Talk about the calm before the storm: Compton looked relaxed before the start, hanging out with her parents at the Southampton Youth Services Center. Then she clocked in and went to work, carving herself the biggest slice of the richest prize purse ever offered for a women’s cyclocross.
By the end of the first lap, Compton had a 19-second lead and $100 for being the first racer over the barriers on the first lap. When Bessette broke her chain on lap three, there was no doubt about who would win — Compton eventually sailed home with a lead of 2:30 over Bessette with Velo Bella’s Barbara Howe crossing third.
Asked later if she knew that Bessette had broken her chain, Compton replied, “No, but I knew something was wrong because I can’t pull away from her that fast.”
A contingent of Belgian fans flew to New York to give their world champion some boisterous backup. Despite the unseasonable heat, they proudly wore their bright red “Erwin Vervecken Supporters” jackets, prompting an immediate response from friends of American racer Robert Campos, who made hand-written “Supporters of Robert Campos” signs from note paper and safety-pinned them onto as many backs as possible. Campos
Whitmore’s Landscaping Super Cross Cup
Southampton, New York
1. Erwin Vervecken (B), Fidea, 1:00:11
2. Barry Wicks (Kona), same time
3. Ryan Trebon (Kona), at 0:25
4. Timothy Johnson (Leer-Cannondale-CyclocrossWorld.com), at 0:38
5. Jeremy Powers (Cyclocrossworld.com), at 1:39
6. Malte Urban (G), Heinz von Heiden, at 2:12
7. Matt White, Fiordifrutta, at 2:28
8. Greg Reain (Can), RWR-Colnago-Time, at 2:47
9. Ryan Leech, GPOA-Cannondale, at 3:13
10. Mathieu Toulouse (Can), Maxxis, at 3:13
1. Katie Compton, Spike Shooter, 40:07
2. Lyne Bessette (Can), Cyclocrossworld.com, at 2:30
3. Barbara Howe, Velo Bella, at 4:41
4. Anna Milkowski, Velo Bella, at 4:36
5. Maureen Bruno-Roy, IF-Wheelworks, at 5:05
6. Megan Elliott at 5:34
7. Rebecca Wellons, Ridley Factory Team, at 5:37
8. Natasha Elliott (Can), Stevens, at 5:49
9. Amanda Sin (Can), 3 Rox Racing, at 6:21
10. Erica Yozell, FORT Factory team, at 6:44