The U23 Women lined up as the third UCI title race on Sunday at the 2021 USA Cyclocross National Championships.

The question was could anyone prevent Katie Clouse from claiming yet another Cyclocross Nationals title?

2021 USA Cyclocross National Championships U23 Women

Twenty women lined up to tackle the thawing course in blustery conditions, a bigger field than in 2019.

Pre-race favorite Clouse suffered a dislocated shoulder in 2020, but looked to dislocate her competitors, including collegiate teammate Maddie Munro, to defend her 2019 U23 Cyclocross Nationals title.

Munro, the 2019 Junior Women’s champ, lined up for her first Cyclocross Nationals as a U23, and wasted no time making her mark on the race, overcoming early leader Lauren Zoerner just after half a lap into the race.

Clouse stayed patient, but clawed her way up to Munro, and then out to an insurmountable lead.

Clouse used her European mud experience to ace today’s exam. “It was good, our last couple of races [in Europe] were super muddy,” said Clouse. “Most of the U.S. races were fast and dry. I’m glad it was muddy today. It made for a good race. It was more technical.”

With one lap done, the only doubt left in Clouse’s title chances was whether she could remain mistake and mechanical-free.

After seeing her teammate AJ August suffer a last-lap flat in the Junior Men’s race earlier in the day, nothing was guaranteed on the tricky course.

Yet Clouse showed she’s the safest bet at Nationals, adding to her pile of 30+ USA Cycling National Championship titles with minutes to spare.

One might think the titles all blend together for Clouse, but she coveted this one. “I think today was pretty special because I know how strong Maddie is,” Clouse said after her finish. “It makes today special because she’s one of my strongest competitors and good friends.”

Behind, Munro and Lizzy Gunsalas held off fast starter Zoerner for the final medal position. Cassidy Hickey finished fifth.

With Clouse’s win, she takes her third Nationals title this week after the Collegiate individual and team win, and today’s U23 title. Her total titles across all disciplines now stands at 34.

Clouse heads to Europe for three World Cups and the Christmas week of racing. “I think with Worlds being in the US I think it’ll favor the U.S. boys and girls,” Clouse said looking ahead to the rest of her season. “No matter the result, it’ll be special racing on home soil.”

Full results below.

2021 USA Cyclocross National Championships Results: U23 Women

1101Katie CLOUSECannondale Cyclocross World47:29:004
2102Madigan MUNROTrek Factory Racing48:38:004
3103Lizzy GUNSALUSCannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com50:33:004
4104Lauren ZOERNERAlpha Bicycle Co. - Groove Silverthorne52:03:004
5106Cassidy HICKEY52:42:004
6116Natalie QUINNFort Lewis College52:56:004
7107Ellie MITCHELLNWCX Project54:36:004
8117Ruth HOLCOMBFort Lewis College54:40:004
9105Bridget TOOLEYEaston-Liv42:58:003
10108Hannah DICKSONSycamore Cycles30:46:002
11122Madelyn ROBERSONFort Lewis College31:04:002
13118Ella DISHONGColumbia/Guipago Cycles31:47:002
14119Sabrina HAYESFort Lewis College32:35:002
15109Abigail YATESBike Mart / LIV33:08:002
16124Tessa GREEPLindsey Wilson College34:30:002
17126Madeline SMITHGreen Line Velo driven by ZIPCAR34:30:002
18121Jordan Gwyen AUSTINxXx Racing - Athletico35:36:002
20125Kathryn MCDICKEN21:171

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