No current elite woman rider has Katie Compton's record of close calls at Worlds without having won. With a homefield advantage, can she finally nab the elusive rainbow bands?
Height: 1.70m (5'6")
Weight: 62kg (137lbs)
Hometown: Newark, Delaware, USA (but lives in Boulder now)
Pedigree: Winner of the 2012 World Cup... without racing the final race in Hoogerheide. Really, it's amazing that Compton has not won the World Cup overall - or the World Championships - before. On her day, she is close to unbeatable, though bad luck in the form of injuries, illness, and poorly timed mechanicals have kept her from securing the biggest prizes. Oh, and she has nine straight national championships. Her competitors for the stars and stripes may never be as strong as Marianne Vos and Sanne Cant, but that is a long time at the top regardless.
How's She Doing?
Even if she fell off the face of the earth at Worlds, this would still be Compton's best season ever. Though she won five World Cups in 2010 compared to a mere four this year, she has two additional second places this year and the overall win in the bag. The reason Compton didn't travel to race in the last WC stop is because her overall victory was already guaranteed. Sanne van Passen and Marianne Vos are her biggest rivals and the former has not beaten Compton since October.
How's The Course For Her?
Compton came, saw, and conquered on the Worlds course in the November USGP race weekend, leaving nothing but shattered legs and spirits behind her. She was playing around out front, experimenting with line choices and where she should go hard versus recover rather than going a-bloc the whole race. With her strongest competition overseas, though, it is hard to make inferences off of that weekend beyond the fact that she will know nuances on the course better than any other riders there. With chances for rain diminishing as the week goes on, the course increasingly looks like it will be a fast one on Sunday, which would shift the advantage towards Vos. Let's call this one a 50-50 split?
The Case Against KfC
Marianne Vos and her five gold medals at Worlds. The last time the two did battle, Vos came out on top and the little fox has just kept up her winning ways since. And - to nitpick - Compton is also more prone to making mistakes and crashing than Vos, which could especially hurt on a fast course.
This is Compton's first year to forgo cross country mountain bike in the spring and summer racing to focus purely on cyclocross. Also, she used to race as the sighted member in a paralympic tandem duo with a blind partner, setting a world record for the 3km pursuit with Karissa Whitsell.