With the water rising, the women took to the course a day early in Louisville. The temperatures were warming slightly, but still below freezing. The course remained hard, but was starting to get broken in from the Juniors race a little more than an hour earlier. Lines were beginning to form as the snow was slowly being worn down and the course loosening up.
It was Lucie Chainel-Lefevere (France) taking the whole shot and setting the pace. Five-time world champion, Marianne Vos and teammate Sanne Van Paassen (Netherlands) waited patiently behind. Katie Compton (USA), started on the front row, but was blocked by a line of riders in either place. A crash on the first straight away, took down many of the contenders, like Helen Wyman and Gabby Day (United Kindom), and Georgia Gould and Meredith Miller (USA). The race sped away as the riders picked themselves up. Vos made her move early on, and left a chase group of Eva Lechner (Italy), Van Paassen and Chainel-Lefevere behind by more than 16 seconds at the flyover. She never looked back.
Meanwhile, Compton made a bike change early on due to a mechanical issue she was facing. This put her back, but she was not about to give up. As she has done many times this year, the chase began. Going into the third lap, Compton was up to sixth, with Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) between her and the chase group. Chainel-Lefevere crashed hard in one of the slick left had corner, and dropped from the chase for a short period. By the end of the lap, Compton had passed Nash, and was working to catch the chase group. With Lechner making mistakes, and Van Paassen not working to chase her teammate down, Compton was able to catch the chase group, and move into third position. She didn’t stay in the group long though, and quickly moved to take second and jump from the group. At that point though, she was over a minute behind Vos, who continued to ride dominantly on the front.
With the first two positions settled, it as a battle for third between Lechner, Van Paassen, Chainel-Lefevere, and new addition to the group, Nash. On the last lap, Vos took a fresh bike to take no chances of a mechanical. Compton continued to push, but over a minute and a half ahead, Vos gave the crowd a bow, and saluted them with arms held high as she crossed the finish line. When Compton arrived, she saluted the crowd as well, with a huge smile on her face, and crossed the line for second.
“Luckily I’ve had lots of practice chasing on and recovering from crappy starts, so I figured what’s one more,” said Compton. “I did what I could, it was thinking more about damage control.
“The thought of not winning a medal here was heartbreaking. There was no way in hell that was going to happen. I rode with a lot of heart – I did everything I could.”
Behind them, the battle continued to rage. Nash and Chainel-Lefevere were together at the final hill, but Nash dismounted half way up and Chainel-Lefevere looked to ride off. Chainel-Lefevere slid out in the next corner, going down hard into the tape. As she got up, her front wheel and bars were out of alignment. As she struggled to straighten them out, Nash ran by. Coming into the final corner, everyone expected to see the French woman, but it was Nash that led onto the straight away running. She mounted her bike, and tried to shift into a harder gear, but a mechanical jammed her chain. After a few attempts to pedal through, she partially dismounted, and tried to push her bike like a scooter with her free leg. Chainel-Lefevere rounded the corner, and saw Nash was struggling, and began to sprint to over take her. Van Paassen also rounded the corner, but the battle for third was half way up the straight away from her. In a heartbreaking finish, Chainel-Lefevere passed Nash with less than 25 meters to go to take third. Nash coasted across for fourth, and Van Paassen in fifth.
- Marianne VOS (NED), in 43:00
- Katherine COMPTON (USA), in 44:34
- Lucie CHAINEL-LEFEVRE (FRA), in 45:10
- Katerina NASH (CZE), in 45:12
- Sanne VAN PAASSEN (NED), in 45:15
- Eva LECHNER (ITA), in 45:17
- Jasmin ACHERMANN (SUI), in 45:36
- Sabrina STULTIENS (NED), in 46:06
- Ellen VAN LOY (BEL), in 46:18
- Kaitlin ANTONNEAU (USA), in 46:19
- Amy DOMBROSKI (USA), in 46:26
- Annie LAST (GBR), in 46:36
- Helen WYMAN (GBR), in 47:02
- Alice Maria ARZUFFI (ITA), in 47:09
- Jade WILCOXSON (USA), in 47:14
- Emily BATTY (CAN), in 47:17
- Georgia GOULD (USA), in 47:24
- Sanne CANT (BEL), in 47:26
- Mical DYCK (CAN), in 47:39
- Pavla HAVLIKOVA (CZE), in 47:46
- Christel FERRIER-BRUNEAU (FRA), in 47:48
- Wendy SIMMS (CAN), in 47:56
- Francesca CAUZ (ITA), in 48:07
- Pepper HARLTON (CAN), in 48:22
- Gabriella DAY (GBR), in 49:36
- Ayako TOYOOKA (JPN): DNF
- Julie LAFRENIERE (CAN): DNF
- Genevieve WHITSON (NZL): DNF
- Martina MIKULASKOVA (CZE): DNF
- Chika FUKUMOTO (JPN): DNF
- Meredith MILLER (USA): DNF
- Madara FURMANE (LAT): DNS