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Cyclocross

Compton surprised, not worried by Vos’ Rabobank move

BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — Cyclocross world championship silver medalist Katie Compton gained a new teammate this week in Dutch world champion Marianne Vos. Compton (Rabobank-Giant Offroad) said she only heard about the move by Rabobank to back Vos in the news, and was not certain how the relationship would work in in the Dutch bank’s first year supporting an elite women’s cyclocross trade team.

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2011 world cyclocross championships podium: (l to r) Compton, Vos, and Katerina Nash

BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — Cyclocross world championship silver medalist Katie Compton gained a new teammate this week in Dutch world champion Marianne Vos. Compton (Rabobank-Giant Offroad) said she only heard about the move by Rabobank to back Vos in the news, and was not certain how the relationship would work in in the Dutch bank’s first year supporting an elite women’s cyclocross trade team.

Compton has never ridden with a team during cyclocross season, but the U.S. national champion enters the 2011 season with the full support of the Dutch Rabobank-Giant Offroad squad. On Monday she gained a surprise teammate in world champion Marianne Vos when Rabobank extended its decades-old support of cycling into women’s road racing.

“I think it’s exciting,” Compton told VeloNews. “She’s a great racer and I think she’ll be a great teammate, too. It’s interesting to have two of the world’s top ’cross riders in the same team. It’ll be fun to have another girl in the team.”

Rabobank announced this week that it would take over sponsorship of Vos’ road team, Nederland Bloeit. The 24-year-old should ride two of her three of her disciplines — road and cyclocross — for the Dutch squad. Vos and Compton, featured as top rivals in the August 2011 issue of Velo magazine, will join forces when Vos makes her ’cross debut later this fall. The alliance could make them the strongest one-two punch in the women’s game, but could also be a challenge for Compton, as Vos is the national hero for the Dutch team.

Compton said she heard about the move in the Belgian news and hadn’t discussed Vos’ addition with the team. Her husband Mark said he had exchanged Twitter messages with Vos, but the couple hadn’t communicated with her yet beyond that. Compton said she was not concerned with the situation.

“No, no, I don’t (worry about it). The team is super supportive,” she said. “The riders are all supportive of each other and achieving the team goals, getting good results and podiums. I don’t feel any pressure I guess or negative feeling from the team.”

Teamwork only goes so far in cyclocross, but Compton said she looked forward to taking opportunities to benefit from an alliance with Vos, who took gold over Compton’s silver with a late surge at worlds in January. At the same time, she said the new Rabobank teammates might decide to fight it out as though they weren’t wearing the same sponsor’s name.

“When we get into the races and have the option to play the team card, we’ll use it to our advantage. We’re both smart bike racers,” said Compton. “It’ll be nice if Marianne attacks and I don’t have to chase her… But I don’t know. We might make an agreement the day of a race to go out and race each other and whatever happens, happens.”

Vos will likely make a late entry into ’cross this season, as she has throughout her career. In 2010, Vos debuted in December and charged through the late rounds of the World Cup to her second ’cross world title. The team will release additional details regarding the new sponsorship in coming weeks, but it appears likely she will carry the Nederland Bloeit name on her rainbow skinsuit through the end of the calendar year.

Vos’ calendar is compounded this year with the London Olympics bringing added importance to the World Cup track season, which opens November 4-6 in Astana, Kahzakstan. The second and third rounds, January 1-3 in Cali, Colombia, and January 20-22 in Beijing, China, respectively, also take place before the cyclocross world championships in Koksijde, Belgium, January 28-29. Vos is the current world champion in the scratch race and will aim for the London Games in the road and track events next July.

Compton will open her 2011-12 campaign next weekend at the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross New Belgium Cup in Fort Collins, Colorado. She said after reshuffling her schedule last week she would travel to Plzen, Czech Republic, for the first World Cup and return stateside for her brother’s wedding. Compton will likely take the start at the Boulder Reservoir for the Colorado Cross Classic on October 29 and said she would most likely skip the following day’s Boulder Cup.

“I’ll do that race at the reservoir for sand practice, for Koksijde,” said Compton. “You really have to be on your ‘A’ game in the sand or it can go really badly very quickly.”

Compton will then contest the UCI3 Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the USGP Derby City Cup in Louisville, Kentucky, before returning to Europe for the Koksijde and Igorre World Cups. She will then return to the States for Christmas and remain through the national championships in January before heading to Europe for the World Cup finale in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, and the world championships, where she will try to one-up Vos in the Koksijde sand.