Despite having the smallest field of the weekend, the Elite Women’s race is a who’s-who of cross. The cost of traveling to and from Europe has caused issues for several nations, who decided not to send the maximum riders allowed, or none at all. It should come as no surprise that the United States and Canada will field the maximum of five riders. The US get’s an extra spot for Katie Compton since she is the World Cup winner, meaning that a total of six riders will represent the US on home soil. Here’s who to look out for:
Marianne Vos (NED) – perhaps the greatest female cyclist ever, Vos continues to impress across the various disciplines of cycling. In addition to being the defend champion, Vos captured a road world title, olympic gold, a national track title (in the madison) and won the Women’s Road World Cup in 2012. This cross season, she has won all but three races she’s entered, including the final three rounds of the World Cup.
Katie Compton (USA) – Compton has proven unbeatable on US soil and would love to continue that trend on Sunday. She’s arguably the greatest US cross racer ever and became the first American to win the World Cup this season. She’s been on the podium at Worlds before, and knows what it takes to win. If she can put it all together, she could easily be the World Champion in Louisville.
Katerina Nash (CZE) – Nash delayed her start to the season to recover from a long mountain bike season. This has proven very effective thus far, as she has podiumed in all but three races she’s entered. She hasn’t been able to top Compton or Vos just yet, but is always in the mix. One of her biggest advantages is that she spends most of the season racing in the US. Thus, she’s familiar with the course, the travel and the fans.
Helen Wymann (GBR) – the European champion has had one of her best seasons ever which has seen her become the second ranked rider in the world (in terms of UCI points). Wymann started her season by crushing the competition in the US and was one of a few riders who did the USGP in Louisville to get a feel for the course. If Wymann rides the way she’s capable of and has good form, she could become the second Brit to stand on the women’s podium.
Sanne Cant (BEL) – at 23-years-old, Cant is one of the youngest riders in the field, and could be the most surprising. She’s been in the thick of things with all the aforementioned riders and has proven to be a true threat. After winning the Belgian National Championships, she slipped a bit at the final World Cup round, leaving a few question marks about her form. With that said, she’s the fourth ranked rider in the world for a reason and will have every Belgian fans support on Sunday.