The Elite Women took to a softening, heavy Cantigny Park course as the fifth UCI race at Sunday’s the 2021 USA Cyclocross National Championships.

2021 USA Cyclocross National Championships Elite Women

In the first Cyclocross Nationals in the post-Katie Compton era, there was only one favorite for the Elite Women’s race: Defending champ Clara Honsinger.

Honsinger, fresh from a stunning European campaign, came to Illinois as one of the top racers in the world, and unrivalved in the U.S.

The notoriously slow starter only needed to avoid other riders, a crash or a mechanical to defend her title. Just a few turns into the first lap, she showed she would not play around with the other riders.

Honsinger was first to clear the sandpit of the man-made cyclocross beach, and had smooth sailing to the rough muddy seas of Cantigny Park in DuPage County. After one lap, Honsinger had 20 seconds in hand.

The only suspense remained was who would take the final medals.

A Race for Next Best

Raylyn Nuss, fresh off her Pan Ams win a week ago, wasn’t about to lay down and give up on her desire for another championship jersey. Nuss led the chase, with Hannah Arensman, Caitlin Bernstein and new singlespeed champ Sunny Gilbert close behind.

Nuss looked for help coming down the windy finishing straight, but had none, and set off in solo pursuit of Honsinger. While her race for silver looked promising, her chase for gold was in vain.

Honsinger’s 20-second lead ballooned into minutes, and was 2:23 over Nuss with one lap to go.

Behind the lead two, Gilbert used her running skills to chase down Arensman.

Anna Megale closed for fifth with 2021 Masters Women 35-39 Champion Taylor Kuyk-White having a solid second race, finishing sixth in the Elites.

Honsinger raced in her National Championship jersey, and will retain it for another year:

Full results below. Stay tuned for more coverage.

Featured photo: 2021 Overijse, B. Hazen

2021 USA Cyclocross National Championships Results: Elite Women

11Clara HONSINGERCannondale-Cyclocrossworld.com47:42:004
22Raylyn NUSSSteve Tilford Foundation Racing50:58:004
37Sunny GILBERTBlue Competition Cycles p/b Build51:05:004
46Hannah ARENSMANSycamore Cycles51:07:004
55Anna MEGALETrek Cyclocross Collective52:53:004
74Caitlin BERNSTEINEaston Overland / MCGOVERN CYCLES53:45:004
83Erica ZAVETAThe Pony Shop p/b KPMG54:03:004
99Emily WERNEREmmys Sweets pb Kens Bike Shop54:27:004
1011Austin KILLIPSPratt Racing54:56:004
1120Traci JUDGE55:17:004
1212Jennifer MALIKParadise Garage Racing p/b Smanie55:39:004
1332Emily SCHALDACHBitchNGrit: Firefly, TenSpeed Hero55:42:004
1415Sophie RUSSENBERGERTeam S&M CX55:48:004
158Crystal ANTHONYLiv Racing Collective56:10:004
1616Anne USHERFast Fun Nice p/b Wattie Ink56:40:004
1717Amelia SHEA58:00:004
1821Brenna WRYE-SIMPSONTeam S&M CX58:17:004
1934Jenna LINGWOODPoint S Auto p/b Nokian Tyres58:30:004
2013Rebecca GROSSZero D Racing58:36:004
2131Sarah STURMSpecialized/Rapha/Sram58:40:004
2235Caitlin NEUMAN59:16:004
2322Rachel RUBINOPratt Racing59:17:004
2419Rachel GEITERTeam Walla Walla59:24:004
2539Britt MASONKnobby by Nature59:46:004
2637Brooke LYMANDuke University1:00:184
2714Anna DOROVSKIKHOrion Racing1:00:354
2818Erin FELDHAUSENTrek Cyclocross Collective1:01:384
2938Molly CLARK-OIENParallel 44 Racing p/b Sanford POWER1:01:434
3036Clementine NIXONRSCX- HOUSE INDUSTRIES1:05:014
3144Laura ALAGNAThe pony Shop p.b. KPMG31:36:002
3342Tori GLASCOCKTeam EPS p/b Brielle Cyclery36:27:002
3433Danielle POWERCorner Cycle36:49:002
3541Ivy AUDRAINHand Up X The Black Bibs X Squid Bikes39:29:002
3643Purshall ARTISONA Dugast USA43:49:002

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See the course preview videos from Cantigny Park, DuPage County, Illinois here.

Visit our dedicated 2021 USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals page for all of our 2021 National Championships coverage.