Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP) edged Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) to win the World Cup round in England on Saturday.
Compton took the lead on the second lap in Milton Keynes’ Campbell Park only to lose it to Cant with two laps remaining. She fought her way back to the front, with Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) closing in third, and with one to go the American had the lead with Cant and Harris in pursuit.
Cant had been having problems clipping into her pedals, caused by stones in her shoes, but she was far from finished — she uncorked one final effort and took the win with a bike throw at the line.
Harris hung on for third.
Cant said she fought to ride in front, pick her own lines and ride her own race, and was delighted to win on such a tough parcours.
“I wouldn’t overstate the trouble I had today. It was a problem with little stones getting into my pedals, but it went really well after all,” she said.
“It’s really a World Cup. We need something like this in the World Cup. It’s slippy, it’s technical, it’s heavy. So I think it was really good.”
Compton said she was still struggling a bit with allergies and asthma, but added that she was happy to be in contention at the end.
“I struggled a lot last weekend, so I was really happy to be in the front battling today,” she said. “It was hard. I definitely made some mistakes, but the course was so slippery that it’s hard not to make mistakes out there. So I just did my best. The bike was great today, my legs were okay, but Sanne just had a better finishing kick. I did everything I could, and I thought we put on an exciting race.”
Harris was likewise pleased to make the podium, and praised her countrymen for their support.
“It was unbelievable,” she said. “I expected there to be a lot of people here, but the amount of support, the whole way around the course, was just something that I never thought I’d experience in my cycling career: to have a World Cup here. It was such an honor, and I was so happy to get a podium.
“I kept thinking maybe the others would tire a little in front and maybe I’d be able to bridge back to them. I felt better every single lap and gained confidence, but yeah, I think third was the best I could do today.
“The running really got to you because it was off-camber, so your knees were going everywhere. It was hard just to try to stay upright and not fall on your bum.”
Cant now leads the World Cup series with 148 points. Compton is second with 132 while Harris is third with 110.
The fourth round of the World Cup will be December 21 in Namur, Belgium.
Editor’s note: Dan Seaton contributed to this report.