Compton, Page add to medal count at 'cross world championships

ComptonCXWorlds.sized.jpgHooglede-Gits, Belgium (January 28, 2007) – The United States Cycling Team earned its first-ever elite cyclo-cross world championship medals Sunday as Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H./Morgan Blue) each won a silver medal in their respective events at the 2007 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Belgium. 

Sunday’s success, in addition to a second-place effort courtesy of Daniel Summerhill (Centennial, Colo./TIAA CREF-Clif Bar) on Saturday, doubled the total medal count attained by the United States since the first world championships in 1950.  Until this weekend, the U.S. had three medals to its credit in 57 years – a gold medal by Matt Kelly in the junior men’s race in 1999, a silver medal by Walker Ferguson in the junior men’s race in 2000 and Tim Johnson’s bronze in the U23 men’s division in 1999. Now, the all-time medal count stands at six for the U.S.

Sunday’s elite women’s race was Compton’s world championship debut.  As the former sighted pilot of a Paralympic gold medal-winning tandem team in 2004, the three-time national champion declined previous invitations to the world championships.  Sunday’s race was only the second international competition of her career after competing in last weekend’s UCI World Cup.

"Last week I crashed more than once, but I learned a lot from watching the other girls,” explained Compton of her final preparation.  “I learned when to pass, when to be patient and how not to waste a lot of energy.”

Because of her lack of international experience, Compton didn’t have the luxury of a front-row start position, but quickly made up ground on the race leaders.

“I’ve been working on my starts,” Compton revealed. “I knew that I would get a poor start position here, so at home I’ve been starting at the back of races to practice moving up fast.”

As the race unfolded, the American was situated in the main group tasked with chasing down pre-race favorite Hanka Kupfernagel of Germany.  On the third lap, Compton and eventual race winner Maryline Salvetat of France took the initiative to close the gap to Kupfernagel, and after the German suffered a mechanical on the penultimate lap it became a three-woman race between Compton, Salvetat and her French teammate Laurence Leboucher.  With Compton at a numerical disadvantage, the French duo worked together to claim the win as Leboucher, riding second wheel behind her teammate, allowed enough of a gap to open before the final finishing straight to prevent Compton from passing Salvetat.

page_DSC0178.sized.jpgAt the line, Compton finished just one second off the pace of the winner and was pleased to earn the first elite women’s medal in U.S. history.
“I was hoping for a top-10, maybe a top-five, but I had a good race and a great day,” said Compton.  “It’s still a little hard to believe that I am up here but it definitely feels good, and it’s great for the U.S.!”

In the elite men’s race, Page rode in the lead group with defending world champion Erwin Vervecken (BEL), Sven Nys (BEL), Radomir Simunek (CZE), Richard Groenendaal (NED) and Christian Heule (SUI) before the first substantial attack came from Groenendaal.  The Dutchman was then able to increase his gap after several crashes in the pursuing chase group.

Groenendaal’s lead grew to seven seconds over his chasers, but by the fourth lap, Page was among the riders who closed the gap.  With three laps remaining, Page and the defending world champion were alone at the front.  As the race headed into the second-to-last lap, the two leaders had five seconds on their closest threat.

A tense battle between Page and Vervecken ensued on the final lap, but ended with Vervecken entering the final straight with a three-second advantage over Page to claim his third-straight rainbow jersey.  Seconds later, Page crossed the line and happily laid claim to the first-ever elite men’s medal at the world championships.

“I’m really happy coming back from my injury earlier in the season,” said an elated Page.  “What was left of this season was all building up to this one day, so to win this medal is a dream come true.  It is great for our country and great for cyclo-cross in America.  I hope that it continues.”
 
UCI Cyclocross World Championship
Hooglede-Gits, Belgium
January 28, 2007

Day Two Results

Elite Men
1. Erwin Vervecken (BEL        
2. Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H.)         
3. Enrico Franzoi (ITA)
23. Ryan Trebon (Ventura, Calif.)
43. Erik Tonkin (Portland, Ore.)
54. Barry Wicks (Corvallis, Ore.)
57. Tristan Schouten (Sheboygan, Wis.)


Elite Women
1. Maryline Salvetat (FRA)         
2. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo.)              
3. Laurence Leboucher (FRA)    
11. Rhonda Mazza (Portland, Ore.)
15. Kerry Barnholt (Boulder, Colo.)
32. Diedre Winfield (Charlottesville, Va.)
33. Christine Vardaros (Mill Valley, Calif.)


About USA Cycling
Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 60,000 members and 2,500 annual events. USA Cycling associations include the BMX Association (BMX), National Off-Road Bicycle Association (mountain bike), U.S. Cycling Federation (road/track), the National Collegiate Cycling Association and the U.S. Professional Racing Organization (professional men’s road). For more information visit
www.usacycling.org or contact USA Cycling Director of Communications, Andy Lee at 719-866-4867.



This Article Published January 28, 2007 For more information contact:
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