US national champion Katie Compton (Rabobank-Giant Offroad) extended her unbeaten status in the UCI World Cup by winning the first round of the 2011-2012 season in Plzen, Czech Republic. Compton launched her decisive attack on the fast but slippery course in the fourth of six laps. Defending World Cup winner Sanne van Paassen (Brainwash) exploited a late crash by Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team) to grab second place ahead of the Czech champion.
“Whew… I needed that! Finally good legs and skills came together on the same day. Awesome course in Plzen,” Compton tweeted after her victory. With her win, she logically gets into the lead of the new World Cup rankings, but Compton will not defend this position as she will not be heading to the second World Cup round in Tabor next week.
The opening lap on the Czech course was led by British champion Helen Wyman (Kona). Due to her efforts, the early selection was made and a group of six leaders was formed. The group consisted of Wyman, Compton, Van Paassen, Nash, Daphny van den Brand (AA Drink – Leontien.nl) and Sabrina Schweizer.
On the uphill finish line, Van Paassen took over the command and this caused Schweizer to drop back. The German woman dropped back into a group with Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea), Pavla Havlikova (Telenet-Fidea), Amy Dombroski (Crankbrothers) and Nicole Duke (Cannondale-cyclocrossworld). Belgian champion Sanne Cant (BKCP-Powerplus) confirmed her moderate early season form as she struggled to keep contact with the others in her group.
In front, Compton put down the hammer during the second lap, and this time it was Wyman who struggled to keep up with the four other leaders. Despite showing great early form with wins in the USA and last week in the first Superprestige round in Ruddervoorde, the British champion had to take her foot from the gas.
Compton eased off during the third lap, allowing Van Paassen back into the lead of the group. By then the group had clocked steady lap times of 6:45. During the fourth lap, Compton managed to go slightly faster while the others were trying to find their second wind.
At the finish line, Compton had an eight-second gap on Nash and Van Paassen. Van den Brand followed alone at 15 seconds after Compton. During the penultimate lap, Compton kept flying around over the course at high speed while Nash was able to gain distance on Van Paassen.
In the last corners of the course, Nash bobbled on a slippery right-hand corner and then didn’t find the right gear to stay with Van Paassen on the uphill finishing line. Compton kept gaining ground on the chasers and grabbed an impressive win. Van Paassen helf off Nash for second place while Van den Brand didn’t have any problems staying in fourth position. In the background, Wyman barely managed to hold on to fifth place at 1:16 behind Compton by finishing just ahead of Dombroski and Lucie Chainel-Lefevre. Havlikova, Harris and Schweizer rounded out the top 10 in Plzen. Report from Cyclingnews