New Champions Crowned at USA Cycling Pro National Championships

USA Cycling Pro National Championships

The 2021 USA Cycling Pro National Championships were held in Knoxville, Tennesee where new National Champions were crowned in the Time Trial, Criterium and Road Race Championships.  Congratulations to Southern California’s Kendall Ryan (L39ION of Los Angeles) who won the USA Pro Criterium Championships and Megan Jastrab (Team DSM) won titles in the  Elite U23 Women’s USA Pro Criterium Championships and  Road Race.

So Cal’s Kendall Ryan and Luke Lampierti are USA Pro Criterium Champions

On Friday evening in Knoxville, Tennessee, Kendall Ryan decisively won the 2021 USA Pro Criterium Championships.

“It was a wild day for me, I’ve been waiting for another criterium national championships since 2015. It was a pretty epic night and I’m super proud of myself and the team for riding the way they did for me.

The last three corners were the most crucial part of the race coming into the finish. We wanted it to come down to a bunch sprint. The girls worked super hard to keep it together and I just tried to stay patient and not get too antsy, as I knew I would need it for the finish in the last few corners.

I was fighting for the 3rd corner to go which was a right-hand corner and Megan Jastrab was fighting me for it. It got a bit intense and I actually came out of my pedal and sort of “motocrossed” it in that corner but managed to clip back in as fast as I could and just started cranking on the pedals.
I didn’t even realize how big of a gap opened, I swear I had someone right on my tail! I was surprised to see daylight on the back of my tail between me and everyone else.

It’s a super proud moment for me. I didn’t make the Olympic team so I was on a mission to prove myself and make a statement, and I’m really proud of myself for just going as strong as I could. It was a really great day on the bike and I’m looking forward to Sunday! – Kendall Ryan

The highly anticipated Elite Men’s event was fast from the gun. With multiple teams sending riders out for early breaks, nothing managed to stick, and everything was reigned back in by the group. Samuel Bassetti (Santa Rosa, Calif.; Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling) was neck and neck with teammate Eric Young (Geneva, Ill.; Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling) in the final sprint. They went 2, 3 to round out the podium.

Elite Women

1. Kendall Ryan (L39ION of Los Angeles)
2. Megan Jastrab (Team DSM)
3. Coryn Rivera (Team DSM)

Elite U23 Women

1. Megan Jastrab (Team DSM)
2. Katie Clouse (Rally Cycling)
3. Claire Windsor (Supra Functional Food Bars)

Elite Men

1. Luke Lamperti (Trinity Racing)
2. Samuel Bassetti (Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling)
3. Eric Young (Elevate-Webiplex Pro Cycling)

Dygert & Craddock Win National Time Trial Titles

The pair of Olympians competed against America’s best time trialist in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The 2021 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships kicked off in Oak Ridge, Tenn. on Thursday with the Individual Time Trial. Riders took to multiple laps of the 11.6-kilometer course in a race to beat the clock. For the Elite Women, 2019 Time Trial World Champion Chloé Dygert (Brownsburg, Ind.; Canyon//SRAM) stopped the clock at 30:11.22, earning the stars-and-stripes jersey. Lawson Craddock (Houston; EF Education – Nippo) claimed the Elite Men’s title in a time of 41:33.90.

“It’s a great step forward to win in my new CANYON//SRAM team colors. My coaches, my team, and I will now go right back to work and focus on preparations towards Tokyo and the road season ahead,” said Dygert on winning. “I’m so honored to have raced here in Knoxville and so proud to wear this national championship jersey.”

The Elite Women’s event kicked off the day with the women taking two laps of the course. Twenty-two riders took the start at the Melton Hill Reservoir. Taking the second step of the podium, Dygert’s Tokyo Olympic Games teammate, Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.; Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling), finished in a time of 30:38.74. Leah Thomas (Santa Clara, Calif.; Moviestar Team Women) took the final step of the Elite Women’s podium, joining her fellow Tokyo Olympians.

Also recognized out of the Elite Women’s event was the Under-23 Women’s podium, consisting of all riders 22-years or younger in the field. Taking the top spot in this group was Kira Payer (Housatonic, Mass.; CCB Foundation), finishing in a time of 35:00.44. Ava Sykes (Clover, S.C.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized) took home the silver in a time of 36:02.19.

The Elite Men’s event had 45 starters, all doing three laps of the course. The largest in recent history, the field was ready for a challenging course, with finishers getting consecutively faster throughout the day. In the end, Craddock earned the top step on the podium. Chad Haga (McKinney, Texas; Team DSM) duplicated his efforts from 2019, placing second with a time of 41:51.44, less than 18 seconds behind the winner. Craddock’s teammate and soon-to-be-retired professional bike racer, Tejay van Garderen (Basalt, Colo.; EF Education – Nippo), was the bronze standard for the day, finishing 29.28 seconds back from Craddock.

Elite Women

1 Chloé Dygert Canyon//SRAM 30:11.22
2 Amber Neben Cogeas Mettler Look Pro Cycling +0:27.52
3 Leah Thomas Moviestar Team Women +0:50.38

U23 Women

1 Kira Payer CCB Foundation 34:22.68
2 Ava Sykes LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized +1:40.31

Elite Men

1 Lawson Craddock EF Education – Nippo 41:33.90
2 Chad Haga Team DSM +0:17.54
3 Tejay van Garderen EF Education – Nippo +0:29.28

Stephens and Rosskopf Win USA Cycling Pro National Road Race Championships

The final day of the 2021 USA Cycling Pro Road National Championships were held on Sunday, starting in downtown Knoxville. The event saw record numbers of participation, being the first major American road event since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Lauren Stephens (Dallas; Team TIBCO-SVB) and Joey Rosskopf (Decatur, Ga.; Rally Cycling) would both make definitive moves in the last 24-kilometers of their events to take home the stars-and-stripes.

Racing started bright and early on Sunday with the Elite Women’s race. The 70-rider field began their race on Gay St. in downtown Knoxville at 9:00 a.m., rolling out onto the 12.6-kilometer course for nine laps, totaling 114.6-kilometers. Early in the race Holly Breck (Montclair, Calif.;) Rally Cycling), Margot Clyne (Boulder, Colo.; DNA Pro Cycling), Lauren De Crescenzo (Broomfield, Colo.; Clinch Elite), Clara Honsinger (Portland; Team TIBCO-SVB), and Daphne Karagianis (Nederland, Colo.; LA Sweat) would attack and able to maintain their lead over the pack for the next three laps, with four laps to go, the leaders started to break apart, and De Crescenzo time trial away from the other four. At one point, she was over two minutes ahead of the main peloton.

With two laps to go, Stephens attacked as the peloton was passing through the feed zone and connected with teammate Honsinger, who was coming back to the field from the early break. Together, they were able to launch Stephens even farther forward, where she soon overtook De Crescenzo. The field reacted a hair too late and was in chase mode for the remainder of the race. Teammates Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.; Team DSM) and Megan Jastrab (Apple Valley, Calif.; Team DSM), along with defending champion Ruth Winder (Boulder, Colo.; Trek-Segafredo), came to the front to reel Stephens back in, but Stephens proved just too fast. In the end, Stephens won in a time of 3:11:19. Rivera sprinted it out with newcomer Veronica Ewers (Seattle; Fount Cycling Guild), claiming the silver in the end. Ewers rounded out the podium.

“We had four riders coming into this race, and we had four strong riders. I said last night that we didn’t have any fluff. We were confident with many different scenarios. So, we knew we needed to make this race hard. And that was our goal,” said Stephens about her team’s strategy coming into the race. “Coming out in lap one, we had riders on the attack, and the second attack was clear, and that break stuck. That breakaway stayed out there most of the day. Eventually, it was absorbed back into the field. I bridged across to Clara [Honsinger] just before we saw one to go. She took me all the way to the bottom of the climb, where we closed to Lauren [De Crescenzo]. From there, it was all up to me.”

“I was more riding a support role for Coryn [Rivera], and we really wanted the team win. Lauren just went in, like right for it, in the feed zone,” said Jastrab about the last lap. “It was a little bit of an iffy move for us to chase because Coryn needed water, I needed water, and we weren’t riding with radios. I tried to pull it back as much as I could with one to go and just buried myself, but it just wasn’t enough to bring it back.”

Jastrab finished eleventh in the Elite Women’s field, but she earned herself another jersey to add into her closet as the highest placing rider under 23 years of age. A fellow collegiate teammate from Milligan College, Marjie Bemis (Corona, Calif.; Robinson Forensic p/b Milligan Cycling), joined Jastrab for the U23 podium. Oregon native Gabrielle Lehnert(Eugene, Ore.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized) took home the bronze medal.

As the midday sun beat down and the thermometer rose, the Elite Men lined up for their start. The 146-rider field, the largest field for this event in at least the last 15 years, started with a bang, with an attack within the first six kilometers. A group of eight, consisting of Lawson Craddock (Austin; EF Education-Nippo), Gage Hecht (Parker, Colo.; Aevolo), Chad Haga (Fort Collins, Colo.; Team DSM), Colin Joyce (Pocatello, Idaho; Rally Cycling), Ty Magner (Athens, Ga.; L39ION of Los Angeles), Magnus Sheffield (Pittsford, N.Y.; Rally Cycling), Tejay van Garderen (Los Olivos, Calif.; EF Education-Nippo), and Matthew Zimmer (Des Moines, Iowa; Project Echelon), were able to get a lead of almost thirty-seconds. They maintained their lead for half of a lap before being joined by the foursome of George Simpson (Fort Collins, Colo.; Project Echelon), 2018 winner Jonathan Brown (Covington, Tenn.; EVO Racing), Jack Bardi (Tacoma, Wash.; Gateway Racing Devo), and Alexey Vermeulen (Pinckney, Mich.; Canyon-Shimano – Q+M) before being absorbed by the field. Within a lap, Sam Boardman (Washington, D.C.; L39ION of Los Angeles) and Kyle Murphy(Townsend, Vt.; Rally Cycling) attacked off the front and pulled away from the peloton. Simpson bridged over to the leaders with ten laps remaining. The trio maintained their lead through much of the race, getting their lead above the field to over four minutes.

“Luckily, I was with Sam Boardman, who is the world’s strongest bike racer, and then George [Simpson] came up, and honestly, it was just smooth riding with them. I think we probably saved energy and didn’t have to ride hard on the hill every lap. I just decided to try to hang out there as long as possible to give our guys a free ride,” said Murphy about being on the front for almost half of the fifteen-lap event.

The field allowed the trio of leaders to maintain their lead for the next five laps. A chase group of six, Brent Bookwalter(Ashville, N.C.; Team Bike Exchange), Gavin Mannion (Fort Collins, Colo., Rally Cycling), Craddock, Haga,Sheffield, Rosskopf, and Vermeulen, began the process of reeling the leaders back. The groups merged with three laps to go, creating a sustainable group of nine. The group would fend off multiple attacks, but Rosskopf attacked right before the final lap and dangled in front of the remaining riders for the lap. He maintained his position through the last 12.6 kilometers and claimed the U.S. title as his own.

“We divided the team into the first and second half of the race. Just to give an opportunity to a few guys to try to float as much as possible, you know, without taking themselves out of the race. But just save, conserve, conserve, conserve until the second half,” said Rosskopf. “It worked amazingly, and so it’s hard to win this because if you don’t have the numbers, all the strongest guys are just staring at each other.”

This is Rosskopf’s third professional national title and first in the road race. He previously won the time trial in 2017 and 2018.

Elite Women

1. Lauren Stephens (Team TIBCO-SVB) 3:11:19
2. Coryn Rivera (Team DSM) +1:06
3. Veronica Ewers (Fount Cycling Guild) +1:06

U23 Women

1. Megan Jastrab (Team DSM) 3:15:27
2. Marjie Bemis (Robinson Forensic p/b Milligan) +2:02
3. Gabrielle Lehnert (LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized)

Elite Men

1. Joey Rosskopf (Rally Cycling) 4:38:12
2. Brent Bookwalter (Team Bike Exchange) +0:03
3. Kyle Murphy (Rally Cycling) +0:05

Photo Credit: “© Team DSM | Patrick Brunt | Keep Challenging”

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