Clad in her rainbow striped jersey, Melissa Buhl (KHS) advanced through the semi-finals and went on to win the finals in the elite women's race. She defeated Mio Suemasa (MS-Intense Factory Racing), Fionn Griffiths (Norco World Team) and Anneke Beerten in the big final. Beerten crashed in the final, but managed to get up and ride to the finish.
"I had an outside lane choice which gave me a disadvantage from the start," said the American winner Buhl. "I had a lot of track to make up there. Anneke had a good start but then she slid out." The turn in question one was the only turn with two options, according to Buhl.
"If you stayed below the lower rock," said Buhl, "you could get on the inside. Problem was we ran out of real estate, and I almost missed the blue gate. It was a bit of a scramble, but I'm glad I didn't miss it and was able to get out." On that turn, where Beerten crashed, Buhl came underneath to make a pass. "I was in front of her when she crashed. I'm not sure what happened."
"It happened so quickly," said last year's winner Beerten. "Melissa came under me hard, and maybe I went by, but it is 4X and it happens."
The Dutch woman was clearly disappointed. "I'm bummed because I felt really good in qualifications when I was able to do all the jumps. I really wanted to go for it." Fortunately, she was ok after her crash, during which she hit her head and suffered a minor ankle injury.
After Beerten's crash, Buhl rode away to the finish. Suemasa chased her, but couldn't make up ground despite her best efforts.
For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com