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FORT COLLINS, Colorado (VN) — Sunny. Warm. What a difference a day makes.
Or maybe not. Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective) stormed away from the field again on Sunday to sweep the weekend’s racing at the Smartwool Cup, the second stop of the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross series.
As on Saturday, the national champion finished alone, trailed by Georgia Gould (Luna), with Julie Krasniak (Rapha-Focus) third.
“It was super fast and the technical sections were super fun,” Compton said. “The bike was handling great and I was feeling fast, and I figured, once you find that groove you’ve just got to go with it.”
It was Gould who sprung Compton toward her second win of the weekend.
“At the beginning I was not liking that big group at the front. So I thought if I made the pace a little higher it would break up a little bit. Of course, I ended up just being the lead-out for Katie’s attack,” said Gould. “So then when she went I’m like, ‘Oh, crap, I can’t do that right now.’ I needed a little rest. So I tried a little bit and then I had to kind of rein it in.”
Opening it up at the gun was Andrea Smith (LadiesFirst Racing), who grabbed the hole shot in the balmy Fort Collins meadow. The course drank up Saturday’s showers and was dusty and bumpy as the women began their race.
By mid-lap, Teal Stetson-Lee (Luna), Caroline Mani (Raleigh-Clement) and Compton had moved to the front. Soon, though, Gould ramped up the pace in hopes of separating with Compton. But Kraskiak and Nicole Duke (Raleigh-Clement) came along for the ride — and then Compton attacked after the end of the first lap, gapping the trio behind and quickly opening a five-second gap.
As on Saturday, she rode away from the field and the race for second was on.
After two laps, Compton’s advantage over Gould and Krasniak grew to almost 30 seconds as a charging Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com) looked to animate the chase group.
But the fourth lap was much the same, with Krasniak and Gould taking turns trying to hold the gap to Compton.
However, the U.S. champion would not be restrained. Compton extended her lead to nearly 50 seconds at the end of four laps as the race for second solidified, with Krasniak glued to Gould and Antonneau settling in at 20 seconds down.
The pink sidewalls of her FMB tubulars glistening in the sun, Compton rolled across the line, relaxed and in control. Another day, another victory. From here she will travel to the Czech Republic for the beginning of the World Cup season.
Meanwhile, the battle for second continued to burn until the final meters of the last lap. Olympian Gould bested Frenchwoman Krasniak for the runner-up spot.
“I tried to keep up with Georgia put she was definitely pushing harder than me,” said Krasniak. “She kept getting stronger and she was definitely more smooth than me on the technical (sections.)”
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more from Colorado.