Belgian Sanne Cant edges Compton in a thrilling women's race at the Cyclocross World Championships
It was a nail-biter to the last lap as American Katie Compton fought for the rainbow jersey against Sanne Cant of Belgium, the two women trading blows over four muddy laps at the Cyclocross World Championships in Valkenburg-Limburg (Netherlands).
Compton got off to a solid start, and it did not take her long to pick her way to the front on a course that she described as great and fun for the most part, even though Compton admitted it was the toughest she could recall:
"This was the hardest world champs course I've raced with all of the mud, difficult off-camber sections, and running. I got off to a decent start and stayed patient through the traffic on the first lap until I made my way to the front."
Cant and Compton soon distanced themselves from the rest of the field, and a two-up battle ensued. They exchanged the lead numerous times, and at one point late in the race it appeared Compton might finally take her first World Championship title as she led by some six seconds, but Cant found another burst of energy entering the final circuit.
Cant increased her pace, predominantly in the running sections, and built the biggest lead of the race in the final half lap to win her second straight world title.
"I don't remember much of the race and how it played out simply because I was so focused on hitting the lines and trying to stay in the moment, so I could push myself as hard as I could. Sanne and I traded the lead a few times in what felt like a slow-motion race to the front. In the end, she was faster, and I simply couldn't push any harder during that last half to match her pace."
Katie Compton crossed the line in second place to claim her fifth Worlds medal and fourth silver – a bid for the rainbow jersey that has eluded her thus far in her career will have to wait another year for the 39-year-old.
But there were no regrets from Katie, who has had her share of struggles and disappointments at the World Championships and whose last medal came five years ago in Louisville.
"I think the running was a bit too much for me as I was stronger on the pedaling sections than I was running. I'm really happy with getting second and having a strong race. My bikes were dialed, and I didn't have any flats on a course that was harder on the equipment than it was on our bodies. That mud was heavy and so slippery! And those were the deepest ruts I've seen while racing in Europe. I love racing in those conditions, and I'm happy I could be at the front at another world champs."