Cyclocross Worlds are almost here. What did King’s Cross tell us about the weekend ahead?
Cincinnati played host to a Worlds preview this past weekend, hosting defending World Champion Niels Albert along with women’s contender Katerina Nash, both of whom took victories a week before Louisville. For Albert, the test didn’t include some key favorites like Sven Nys, but he did prove himself head and shoulders above the American contingent on hand.
For Nash, the victory was sweet, but lacked two competitors that will likely duel for the rainbow jersey. Her Luna Chix teammate Georgia Gould placed second, but the American with the best chance is World Cup points winner Katie Compton. After a few wins and an astoundingly consistent season, Compton would be the obvious favorite if it weren’t for the well-timed return of Marriane Vos. The Dutch woman is in a league of her own, and with a handful of World Cup races (and wins) under her belt, she’s tuned her fitness to be near-perfect in February.
There’s plenty to speculate on, but Vos will be the overwhelming favorite to win on Sunday. It’s up to Katie Compton, who will no doubt be fueled by a home crowd, to challenge on a fast course that certainly suits her skill set. The dark horse will be Katerina Nash. While she has had her share of success this season, she hasn’t yet found herself on the same level as Compton and Vos, but she’s getting closer all of the time. She’ll be the most dangerous rider in the pack if Compton and Vos are anywhere within reach late in the race.
The Men’s race is completely wide open, though the Belgians will ride with more options to win than most. In a surprise announcement, Klaas Vantornout will make a Worlds start after a fast recovery from injuries two weeks back. The new Belgian national champion will be alongside Nys, Albert, Bart Wellens and Kevin Pauwels, with others on the line as well. The Americans will count on new national champion Jonathan Page and Jeremy Powers to lead the line, with Ryan Trebon, Jamey Driscoll and Tim Johnson also long shot threats at a podium.