Kendall Ryan wins women's criterium title at US Pro Road Championships

Kendall Ryan (L39ION of Los Angeles) secured the title in the elite women's criterium at the USA Cycling Pro Road Championships in Knoxville on Friday. Ryan sprinted early over last hill and through the final corners to secure the victory by a large margin ahead of Team DMS teammates Megan Jastrab in second and Coryn Rivera in third.

“I came out here with a mission, I didn’t make the Olympic team, so I just wanted to prove a point. And I think I did that. My teammates hung out a lot. It was super-hard competition out there and everyone came out to destroy us [L39ION of Los Angeles]. I’m just really happy and it was a really good day," said Ryan, who last won the criterium national title in 2015.

“It’s been a while since 2015, to be exact, so I’m really proud of this one. Everyone showed up with their A-game. It was a really hard race, with really strong riders. I’m super proud of my team and super proud of myself."

How it  unfolded

The women's criterium took place on a 1.7km (1.1 mile) course in downtown Knoxville. The six corners and punchy climbs on wide roads made for a technical and fast course on the 70-minute race.  

At the front of the peloton were some of the big names of the peloton, including all five riders for Rally Cycling and the duo from Team DSM, Coryn Rivera and Megan Jastrab, both headed to the Tokyo Olympic Games. 

Crashes were few and far between, with the first mishap taking place about 10 minutes into the race on turn three, which involved Sara Rains (Colavita/HelloFresh Women’s Pro Cycling) and Sinead Miller (Nashville Local Cycling), and both were able to rejoin on the next lap. 

Sixteen minutes into the race Morgan Aguirre (Fount Cycing Guild) took the first solo attack on the field, and after two laps without more than 10 seconds as a gap, she started to look around, a sign that the move would not stick. 

Michelle Howe, another Fount Cycling Guild rider, along with Debbie Milne (Supra Functional Food Bars) were next to take a turn out front 25 minutes into the race. The gap started to open and develop into a dangerous move.

However, five minutes later into what appeared to be a powerful twosome, Milne pulled up and was absorbed back into the peloton, leaving Howe to bear now in the heat by herself and try to hold a 37-second gap.

Once the peloton swallowed Milne, Skylar Schneider of L39GION of LA began to push the pace at the front of the race, leaping off the front on Gay Street under the start/finish banner.  

Halfway through the contest, the peloton still did not look very organized in pursuit of the 33-year-old Howe, who raised some eyebrows on Thursday with a fifth-place finish in the ITT, however her advantage was beginning to shrink. 

With 10 laps to go, the advantage was 20 seconds, but the peloton had her in their sights as they passed the Tennessee Theatre on the long straightaway on downtown Gay Street.

Beginning the chase was Krista Doebel-Hickok (Rally Cycling), Rivera and Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) at the front of the peloton, but no other splits in the pack.

With nine laps to go, DNA Pro Cycling Team, down to three riders in the event, took a turn out front, but did not make a dent. Two laps later, the pace in the field stepped up a notch, with riders beginning to line out led by Rivera, Kendall Ryan (L39ION of LA) and Alexis Ryan.

The catch of Howe was finally made as the riders set off on the sixth lap, though Howe resisted but her team launched Stephanie Poole to the front on an attack. 

Poole was chased down with four to go by Colavita, L39ION of LA and Team DSM, but all the top riders and teams were still together, including Howe still near the front of the pack. Riders slowed the pace a bit to regroup and set up the springboard moves.

Again on Clinch Ave, attacks were made by two riders with Fount Cycling Guild, but closed down by Rally Cycling as they set off with three to go.

With one lap to go, it was LA Sweat at the front with Fount Cycling Guild and riders spread out all over the road. 

Jennifer Wheeler opened a five second gap, but when Kendall Ryan launched her attack she hit the final corner alone and rode away from the storming Team DSM duo to take the title.

“I was going for the elite win, the U23 win wasn’t really a target for today," said Jastran, who took the under-23 title. "It didn’t play out in the final turn, but it was fun racing. I haven’t raced my bike for 630 days, I did the math the other day, since I was a junior at Worlds.”

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kendall Ryan (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles 1:09:20
2Megan Jastrab (USA) Team DSM 0:00:02
3Coryn Rivera (USA) Team DSM 0:00:02
4Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon//SRAM Racing 0:00:02
5Skylar Schneider (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles 0:00:03
6Christina Gokey-smith (USA) Colavita/HelloFresh Womens Pro 0:00:04
7Katie Clouse (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:06
8Tina Pic (USA) Colavita/HelloFresh Womens Pro 0:00:08
9Danielle Morshead (USA) LA Sweat 0:00:10
10Sinead Miller (USA) Nashville Local Cycling 0:00:10
11Liza Rachetto (USA) DNA Pro Cycling Team 0:00:10
12Krista Doebel-hickok (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:11
13Alia Shafi (USA) Fount Cycling Guild
14Brittany Parffrey (USA) Colavita/HelloFresh Womens Pro 0:00:11
15Debbie Milne (USA) Supra Functional Food Bars 0:00:12
16Daphne Karagianis (USA) LA Sweat 0:00:12
17Ayesha Mcgowan (USA) Liv Racing 0:00:12
18Claire Windsor (USA) Supra Functional Food Bars 0:00:13
19Heidi Franz (USA) Rally Cycling
20Nicole Jurisch (USA) Roxo Racing 0:00:14
21Michelle Howe (USA) Fount Cycling Guild 0:00:14
22Gabrielle Lehnert (USA) LUX/sideshow p/b Specialized
23Marjie Bemis (USA) Robson Forensic P/B Milligan Cy 0:00:14
24Veronica Ewers (USA) Fount Cycling Guild 0:00:14
25Sommers Creed (USA) Classic Cycling P/B B-Line 0:00:15
26Sara Rains (USA) Colavita/HelloFresh Womens Pro 0:00:15
27Ava Hachmann (USA) Levine Law Group Elite Women??? 0:00:15
28Kimberly Lucie (USA) DNA Pro Cycling Team 0:00:16
29Holly Breck (USA) Rally Cycling 0:00:20
30Margaux Mcbirney (USA) LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized 0:00:26
31Kathleen Abadie (USA) Fount Cycling Guild 0:00:29
32Shayna Powless (USA) Team TWENTY24 0:00:52
33Tracy Carrington (USA) Roxo Racing
34Kaitlin Keough (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles
35Margot Clyne (USA) DNA Pro Cycling Team 0:00:52
36Sierra Sims (USA)
37Krystal Burnham (USA) Robson Forensic P/B Milligan Cy
38Valentina Chacin (USA) Aminorip/ExtraSweet Racing
39Morgan Aguirre (USA) Fount Cycling Guild 0:00:52
40Bethany Matsick (USA) Liberty University 0:01:15
41Ava Sykes (USA) LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized
42Stephanie Poole (USA) Fount Cycling Guild
43Ashley Weaver (USA) LA Sweat 0:01:15
44Sarah Schuetter (USA) Robson Forensic P/B Milligan Cy
45Rachel Jordan (USA) 3T/ Q+M Cycling
46Vanessa Romano (USA) Philly Bike Expo P/b VeloJawn
47Faith Powell (USA) Nashville Local Cycling
48Katie Mardayat (USA) LA Sweat 0:01:15
49Allison Mrugal (USA)
50Sarah Hoots (USA) Classic Cycling p/b B-Line 0:01:16
DNFMadeline Bemis (USA) Rally Cycling
DNFMonica Merced (USA) LA Sweat
DNFKaty Sorrell (USA) Classic Cycling p/b B-Line
DNFJennifer Wheeler (USA) Fount Cycling Guild
DNFCaitlin Milne (USA) Supra Functional Food Bars
DNFHannah Dalsing (USA)
DNSLeigh Ann Ganzar (USA) Rally Cycling
DNSErica Clevenger (USA) DNA Pro Cycling Team
DNSMerrill Thierman (USA) Classic Cycling P/B B-Line

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Jackie Tyson
North American Production editor

Jackie has been involved in professional sports for more than 30 years in news reporting, sports marketing and public relations. She founded Peloton Sports in 1998, a sports marketing and public relations agency, which managed projects for Tour de Georgia, Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Cycling. She also founded Bike Alpharetta Inc, a Georgia non-profit to promote safe cycling. She is proud to have worked in professional baseball for six years - from selling advertising to pulling the tarp for several minor league teams. She has climbed l'Alpe d'Huez three times (not fast). Her favorite road and gravel rides are around horse farms in north Georgia (USA) and around lavender fields in Provence (France), and some mtb rides in Park City, Utah (USA).

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