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?
Perfect Day for Cyclocross #ItsBeenAWeek #CXNats the course has froze, thawed, rained on, aired out, and ridden in. It’s perfect. #Chicago @DiscoverDuPage @CantignyPark have done well. Nice work, @usacycling! pic.twitter.com/CsBRaZHU0D
— Kenny Labbé (@kenny_labbe) December 12, 2021
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.
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
|1||101||Katie CLOUSE||Cannondale Cyclocross World||47:29:00||4|
|2||102||Madigan MUNRO||Trek Factory Racing||48:38:00||4|
|3||103||Lizzy GUNSALUS||Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com||50:33:00||4|
|4||104||Lauren ZOERNER||Alpha Bicycle Co. - Groove Silverthorne||52:03:00||4|
|6||116||Natalie QUINN||Fort Lewis College||52:56:00||4|
|7||107||Ellie MITCHELL||NWCX Project||54:36:00||4|
|8||117||Ruth HOLCOMB||Fort Lewis College||54:40:00||4|
|10||108||Hannah DICKSON||Sycamore Cycles||30:46:00||2|
|11||122||Madelyn ROBERSON||Fort Lewis College||31:04:00||2|
|12||120||Skylar BOVINE||CXHAIRS DEVO : TREK BIKES||31:15:00||2|
|13||118||Ella DISHONG||Columbia/Guipago Cycles||31:47:00||2|
|14||119||Sabrina HAYES||Fort Lewis College||32:35:00||2|
|15||109||Abigail YATES||Bike Mart / LIV||33:08:00||2|
|16||124||Tessa GREEP||Lindsey Wilson College||34:30:00||2|
|17||126||Madeline SMITH||Green Line Velo driven by ZIPCAR||34:30:00||2|
|18||121||Jordan Gwyen AUSTIN||xXx Racing - Athletico||35:36:00||2|
|19||123||Mia SCARLATO||MARIAN UNIVERSITY||37:18:00||2|
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