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Critiquing Katie Compton
Long plagued by early season illness, injury and allergies, the American Queen of cross Katie Compton is off to a strong and consistent season.
But, for all her experience, Compton is making mistakes that are costing her wins. At Jaarmarktcross she went from a front row start to just outside the top ten within the first 50 meters of the race.
Compton made it back up to the leaders and Dutch national champion Lucinda Brand, but the effort cost her. Compton couldn’t respond to Brand’s attack with two and a half laps to go.
A late race decision to pit may have also undone Compton. She was leading the race when she veered widely to the right to exchange bikes in the awkward Jaarmarktcross pit. Brand immediately opened up a handful of bike lengths, and though Compton didn't lose much more ground, she couldn't close the gap.
With the increasing depth of the elite women’s field, Compton must ride more tactically astute if she hopes to earn victories with her strong form.
Bless the elite women’s international cyclocross field, which actually gets deeper as the season progresses. Multi-discipline stars like Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Marianne Vos and Lucinda Brand often start their seasons in November and December, adding mid-season intrigue to races already packed with contenders.
After her heartbreaking second place finish at the 2019 World Championships—undone by a foible in the pit—Brand enters the 2019-20 season with increased team infrastructure.
Her switch to the Sven Nys managed Telenet Baloise Lions, along with her move to Trek Segafredo on the road, brings better race-day support and a potentially valuable mentor.
Brand possesses one of the biggest motors in the world, but lacks the technical ability of some of the sport’s biggest stars. (See: Overijse Vlaamse Druivencross, 2017)
Will the added infrastructure and experience of Lions general manager Sven Nys and coach Warren Kommers help Brand?
Nys coached Brand course-side as she rode to victory at Jaarmarktcross. But when FloBikes trained with the Lions in Belgium’s Lichtart forest in 2019, the practice was limited to just the men’s team. Hopefully Brand gets access to the Lions' full resources, and develops the technical skills to match her world class engine.
Mathieu van der Poel looked like he was on a beer run in route to victory at Jaarmarktcross. The newly crowned European Champion next lines up at the UCI Cyclocross World Cup in Tabor on Saturday, and then starts his run at the DVV Trofee series at Flandriencross in Hamme, Belgium on Sunday.
No facial hairs shall be shorn from FloBikes faces until the Dutchman loses a bike race (or the World Championships). Tag your own facial hair pics with #vanderbeard on social media to join in on the Mathieu van der Poel facial hair challenge.