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Katerina Nash survived the mud and muck to win Sunday’s round of the 2019 UCI Cyclocross World Cup, held at the Trek Bicycles headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
Despite suffering several slips and crashes throughout the three-lap race Nash (Team Clif Bar) held off a hard-charging Jolanda Neff (Trek Factory Racing) to win by 19 seconds. The women raced under rainy skies for much of the race, and the moisture churned the course into a slippery track of mud.
“It was awesome,” Nash said. “I like conditions like these.”
The victory marks Nash’s eighth career cyclocross World Cup victory, and her first major ‘cross win of the season. Nash will celebrate her 42nd birthday in December. In her post-race interview, Nash made light of the comparative age of her rivals. Neff is 26 years old, and third-place finisher Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing), who battled Nash in the first half of the race, turned 22 earlier this year.
“Honestly, we live in the era of such impressive athletes as van der Poel and Marianne Vos, and they are so cool, but I think I’m one of the first to a win cyclocross [World Cup] in their 40’s,” Nash said. “And they literally have a long way to get there.”
The second round of the 2019 UCI World Cup was again held in Waterloo, Wisconsin, site of Trek Bicycles, as it was in 2018.
In years past the Waterloo race had produced fast racing under a baking sun. This year, however, early rains soaked the circuit the night before the World Cup race.
Nash enjoyed a fast start on the muddy course, and surged into second place behind Richards after the initial sprint through the course’s opening section. Nash then slipped on a greasy off-camber section and appeared to run into the fencing, only to give chase and then slip again at the base of a steep and muddy run-up.
The early bobbles didn’t seem to slow Nash, who continued to chase Richards and then passed and overtook her midway through the first lap.
Nash rode the remainder of the race mostly by herself, regularly dismounting her bike to run through the ankle-deep mud. The regular slips and bobbles she suffered did not appear to dampen Nash’s spirit, and as she sped across the line to win, the Czech rider extended her hand and gave high fives to the fans lining the start/finish.
Behind, it was Neff who put in the next best ride. The Swiss mountain biker started mid pack, but her victory during Saturday’s UCI C2 Trek Cup was proof that she was on impressive form. Neff was the ninth rider to cross the line after the first lap, and then churned her way through the rest of the field, passing Richards on the third and final lap.
Richards finished third, with American Clara Honsinger (S&M Racing) and Maghalie Rochette (Feedback-Specialized), winner of the World Cup opener, in fifth.
Nash said it was her experience that helped her claim the victory on Sunday. A longtime pro mountain biker, Nash competed in the inaugural Olympic mountain bike race in 1996 in Atlanta, where she finished 19th place.
“It doesn’t happen overnight that you get to the top of the world rankings, and as long as you’re willing to work at it, it doesn’t go away overnight either,” Nash said. “I’ve been working at it and using my experience and my skill set and everything I have, and every now and then it still works out.”
2019 UCI World Cup Waterloo, Wisconsin
- Katerina Nash, Clif Bar, 41:55:00
- Jolanda Neff, Trek Factory Racing, 42:14:00
- Evie Richards, Trek Factory Racing, 42:26:00
- Clara Honsinger, S&M Cyclocross, at 43:20:00
- Maghalie Rochette, Feedback Sports-Specialized, at 43:24:00
- Caroline Mani, Pactimo-Van Dessel, 43:42:00
- Jennifer Jackson, Easton-Giant, 44:02:00
- Manon Bakker, Experza Pro, 44:15:00
- Maud Kaptheijns, Pauwels-Sauzen-Bingoal), 44:37:00
- Rebecca Fahringer, Kona-Maxxis-Shimano, 44:49:00