Megan Jastrab (Rally UHC) made history by becoming the first American to win the Omnium title on Friday at the 2019 UCI World Junior Track Championships in Frankfurt, Germany. The 17-year-old is continuing her success in both road and track, and is becoming one of the most promising young riders for the future of women's cycling.
"It feels unreal to win," said Jastrab, who was competing for Team USA in Frankfurt. "I am so, so happy it came together and ended this way."
The Omnium is comprised of four events, the Scratch Race, Tempo Race, Elimination Race, and Points Race. Jastrab finished on the podium in each of the first three events despite a hard fall during the Tempo Race.
"All of the events were stressful," said Jastrab. "I was taken out in the Tempo Race after only seven laps but fortunately scored enough points early. It could have been a very different story."
Jastrab went into the points race finale with a slim four-point advantage over Great Britain's Ella Barnwell and an eight-point lead over Italy's Eleonora Gasparrini.
"Going into the points race of an Omnium, everything can change," said Jastrab. "It was a unique feeling thinking about winning a world title but first I had to concentrate concentrate on Ella and Eleonora. We pretty much neutralized each other while the other riders took the points.
"I knew I had won when the bell rang for the final sprint and I just followed wheels in complete shock about what just happened."
Despite her young age, Jastrab is focused and training hard with USA Cycling ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
"Tokyo is a huge goal," said Jastrab. "I'm extremely motivated and will try my best."
This spring, Jastrab won the 7th Trofeo Da Moreno-Mini-Trofeo Alfredo Binda in Italy. She went on to place second at the Gent-Wevelgem, and won two stages and the overall title at the Healthy Ageing Tour Junior Women. All three events were part of the Nations Cup series.
She also took the silver medal in the junior time trial and won the junior road race at the US National Championships.
Jastrab's participation with Rally UHC has been dependent on whether they are competing in UCI or non-UCI events. Rally UHC has a focus on the highest level of racing in both the US and internationally, but that restricts riders who are under 18 from competing.
As a 17-year-old, she is permitted to race in non-UCI event such as Redlands Bicycle Classic. She has had a large focus on the Nations Cup, however, racing with Team USA.