Kaitie Keough is headed to Europe for most of the 2019/20 cyclocross season, but there will still be a Katie wearing the green of the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld team on the domestic scene this year.
The team announced the signing of Katie Clouse for the upcoming cyclocross season.
Clouse turns 18 at the beginning of August, but she already has palmares worthy of an entire career. Clouse won her first career UCI C1 cyclocross race at Ruts n’ Guts in December, her win in the Junior 17-18 race at Louisville Cyclocross Nationals was the 26th national championship of her Junior career, and she turned heads with a 7th-place finish in the U23 Women’s race at Bogense Worlds in February.
“Progression is the key to an athlete’s career and making this change will allow me to be around athletes and staff with a ton of experience, and a fresh perspective will allow me to progress on the domestic and international racing scenes,” Clouse said about the opportunity.
“It’s incredible to think that this season I will be able to take advantage of the combined experience of Kaitie, Curtis and Stephen, who are athletes I’ve looked up to since I’ve first started racing. Not to mention I will get to work with one of the most respected directors; Stu Throne.”
In our story on Thorne’s Cannondale p/b Cyclocross program, those around him described a team director who also takes in the entire domestic scene. In doing so, it has been hard not to notice Clouse’s success across the board.
“I’ve followed her racing over the past few years and especially last season. She had some great results and showed that she was maturing as a racer. She had a good read on the racing and clearly had the determination to be at the front,” Thorne said. “After seeing her race Worlds in Bogense as one of the youngest riders in the U23 race and roll across the line with an incredible result, the decision was relatively easy.”
Clouse’s signing means the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld Elite roster will be balanced with two men and women. Clouse will join Keough as the two women, and the top two finishers in the Elite Men’s race in Louisville, Stephen Hyde and Curtis White, return for 2019/20 as well.
A big part of the Cannondale program is mentorship of young riders. The team maintains a seven-rider development team—many of whose members Clouse will be younger than—that receives mentorship from the team’s Elites.
“[Kaitie Keough] started with the team at a similar age—I think even younger—and she’s now one of the top riders In the world,” Thorne said. “She has a huge amount of experience in all aspects of racing. To share that knowledge would be massive for a young rider like Katie C. With Kaitie racing in Europe this season, it will obviously be difficult to share that info.”
“However, I feel that Katie C. will be able to learn from the others on the team and absorb all the experience that they have to offer. We will do everything we can to help her succeed.”
Clouse’s home for cyclocross for the past four years has been the Alpha Bicycle – Groove Subaru program run by Adam Rachubinski. The departure will no doubt be a bittersweet one for Clouse.
“On Alpha, we always used the phrase ‘A happy racer is a fast racer.’ It was hard to understand when I first was on the team and younger, but after four years on Alpha, I finally understand it and now more than ever, I have such a love for this sport because of it. Alpha was more of my second family than anything, not just teammates and a director,” Clouse said.
She continued, “Adam Rachubinski, the team director, not only taught me how to race against the best in the world but also taught me how to juggle the things life throws at you. My teammates made me stronger in every way possible. The best is getting to chase around two strong dudes in Brannan Fix and Gage Hecht for hours on the road or for as long as you can for a lap. Turner [Ramsay], the only other girl on the team besides me, played a huge role in my life since we were 10. Always pushing me to do my best and strive for nothing less than greatness.”
As a many-time national champion in road, cyclocross and mountain biking, Clouse has many choices of where and how to race in the future, although recent developments are showing that racing ’cross is not a detriment to success in other disciplines. Clouse races on the road with DNA Pro Cycling and her signing with the Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld program suggests cyclocross will be a big part of her future in the coming years.
“As I continue to grow and age out of the Junior ranks, I start to see more of a focus on certain disciplines,” she said. “Mountain biking has kind of taken the back seat and road and cyclocross have shined through as the sports I want to pursue. It’s tough to juggle with the road season and the ’cross season, but I manage because I love them both too much to pick only one.”