Kendall Ryan (L39ION of Los Angeles) repeated her elite women's criterium crown at the USA Cycling Pro Road Championships in Knoxville on Friday evening. Like last year, she made her move over the last Clinch climb to ride solo across the line.
Her L39ION teammates completed the podium sweep, Skylar Schneider in second and Alexis Ryan in third. Coryn Labecki (Jumbo-Visma) trailed for fourth place and Olivia Cummins (LUX-CTS p/b Specialized) was fifth.
“It's crazy, I don't remember when the last time it's happened. For me to be able to do that, all I can think of is my teammates, they made that happen today,” Kendall Ryan said about defending her pro criterium title. “I can't wait to thank them and celebrate with them, There's a lot of trust.”
Cummins secured the U23 women’s criterium title with her solid ride. Kaia Schmid (Human Powered Health) took the U23 silver and her teammate Katie Clouse grabbed the bronze.
The L39ION riders never lost contact with each other in the race, and massed at the front for the final assault in the final two turns and 500 metres.
“When you go one-two-three that is just shows pure dominance. We haven’t gone one-two-three yet this year, so this is really big for us. And for this to happen at the national championships, we are super happy and proud,” bronze medalist Alexis Ryan said at the finish.
“We rode a really great race. The plan was for Kendall to repeat. We did our best to execute our plan and it went way, way better than we expected.”
How it unfolded
The women's criterium course in downtown Knoxville returned the now-familiar 1.7km (1.1 mile) route with its signature start/finish on Gay Street. The setting sun cast nature’s spotlight on the vertical Tennessee Theatre marquee, casting a shadow on the sixth and final turn of the technical course with punchy climbs.
Before the formal start of the 70-minute championship race the majority of the field dismounted their bikes and kneeled during the national anthem in a show of protest of today’s US Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe vs Wade, which had provided a constitutional right to abortion for the past 50 years.
On the early laps with 54 riders, Debbie Milne (SupraBars.com) was the rider seen most often at the front of the pack, stalked by the duo from EF Education-TIBCO-SVB - 2021 US Pro road race champion Lauren Stephens and Emily Newsom, and all the riders from L39ION of Los Angeles, led by defending pro crit champion Kendall Ryan.
It was not until 30 minutes into the contest that the field began to show signs of some fatigue, with riders beginning to dangle off the back, with Newsom and Clouse working at the front to try to create separation, but L39ION covered the move.
Misfires for attempted breaks took place, including Coryn Labecki (Jumbo-Visma), Brenna Wrye-Simpson (DNA Pro Cycling), Newsom and later Holly Breck (Go Fast). L39ION of Los Angeles worked to bring back any attacks.
With 10 laps to go it was still one big pack passing through the wide streets in Knoxville, with the high temperatures beginning to dip below 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the chances for a breakaway fading like the afternoon sun.
Stephens tried to attack just before the twisting climb to end the eighth lap, but the pulled the plug quickly. On the next lap, Newsom moved to the front of the race to push the pace yet again.
With five laps to go L39ION began to line up their riders at the front, with Labecki tucked in behind the group and DNA Pro Cycling, Levine Law Group-CCB and the EF riders massing their pink jerseys near the front, but no one showed interest in a real move.
Down to four laps remaining, the pace slowed in the peloton as riders began to mark each other. It was Lisa Cordova (Live Play Real Estate) who tried to light the first real fuse of the race by going solo, and gained a 10-second gap. But two laps later Cordova was pulled back, just as a few rain drops began to fall, making the pavement slippery in spots.
On the final lap, L39ION moved back to the front, the black jerseys massed together with the bright yellow Jumbo-Visma kit of Labecki again tucked on their wheels. From a trio of L39ION riders, Kendall Rayn made her move on the Clinch climb to repeat as champion and the team swept the podium.
"Oh my gosh, such a dream come true. We came here and it was 100% confidence in Kendall [Ryan] to repeat, and to have a podium sweep is just really amazing,” said Skylar Schneider, who won the Omnium title earlier this month at Saint Francis Tulsa Tough.
"We have had a few months of racing together now all across the country and it’s been quite successful, but we've lost some races and that's the ones we've learned from and all of that set us for today."
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Kendall Ryan (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles||1:10:05|
|2||Skylar Schneider (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles||0:00:01|
|3||Alexis Ryan (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles|
|4||Coryn Labecki (USA) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:00:02|
|5||Olivia Cummins (USA) LUX-CTS p/b Specialized||0:00:03|
|6||Danielle Moreshead (USA) LA Sweat|
|7||Gillian Bennett (USA) ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK|
|8||Lauren Stephens (USA) EF Education TIBCO SVB|
|9||Kaia Schmid (USA) Human Powered Health||0:00:04|
|10||Katie Clouse (USA) Human Powered Health|
|11||Heather Fischer (USA) Team Groupe Abadie-Le Boulou||0:00:05|
|12||Cassidy Hickey (USA) LUX-CTS p/b Specialized|
|13||Daphne Karagianis (USA) DNA Pro Cycling Team|
|14||Heidi Franz (USA) InstaFund Racing||0:00:06|
|15||Holly Breck (USA) Go Fast|
|16||Kimberly Lucie (USA) DNA Pro Cycling Team|
|17||Bethany Matsick (USA) Bike Works p/b Fred Beans||0:00:07|
|18||Christina Gokey-smith (USA) Colavita Factor Pro Cycling|
|19||Jacqueline Larouche (USA) 3T/ Q+M Cycling|
|20||Marisa Vandersteen Boaz (USA) LUX-CTS p/b Specialized||0:00:08|
|21||Valentina Chacin (USA) Robson Forensic p/b Extra Sweet||0:00:09|
|22||Shayna Powless (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles||0:00:10|
|23||Hayley Bates (USA) Levine Law Group - CCB|
|24||Cara Oneill (USA) Colavita Factor Pro Cycling||0:00:12|
|25||Tiffany Thomas (USA) LA Sweat||0:00:13|
|26||Ali Lecraw (USA) Colavita Factor Pro Cycling|
|27||Kathryn Aman (USA)||0:00:14|
|28||Lisa Cordova (USA) Live Play Real Estate||0:00:15|
|29||Elizabeth Harden (USA) Levine Law Group - CCB|
|30||Claudia Ferreira (USA) Live Play Real Estate||0:00:16|
|31||Emily Newsom (USA) EF Education-TIBCO-SVB|
|32||Zoe Ta-perez (USA) LUX-CTS p/b Specialized||0:00:20|
|33||Sara Rains (USA) Cardinal - Classic Cycling||0:00:32|
|34||Debbie Milne (USA) SupraBars.com||0:00:45|
|35||Paige Kostanecki (USA) ButcherBox Cycling p/b LOOK||0:00:47|
|36||Monica Merced (USA) LA Sweat||0:01:06|
|37||Samantha Schneider (USA) L39ION of Los Angeles||0:02:15|
|38||Brenna Wrye-simpson (USA) DNA Pro Cycling Team||0:02:42|
|39||Betty Hasse (USA) Levine Law Group - CCB||0:02:45|
|40||Rachel Jordan (USA) 3T/ Q+M Cycling|
|41||Amanda Smith (USA) Robson Forensic p/b Extra Sweet|
|42||Caitlin Milne (USA) SupraBars.com|
|43||Shannon Koch (USA) Colavita Factor Pro Cycling|
|44||Aubrey Drummond (USA) LUX-CTS p/b Specialized|
|45||Ellexi Snover (USA) Fount Cycling Guild|
|46||Lisa Houser (USA) Fount Cycling Guild|
|DNF||Mia Eberstadt (USA) Levine Law Group - CCB|
|DNF||Ava Hachmann (USA) Levine Law Group - CCB|
|DNF||Katy Sorrell (USA) Cardinal - Classic Cycling|
|DNF||Allie Warfel (USA)|
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