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Photo: USA Cycling/Bruce Buckley

Jastrab takes two titles at USA junior women’s road nationals

Megan Jastrab took national titles No. 20 and 21 at USA Cycling's junior women's national road championships in Maryland

Megan Jastrab‘s star continued its meteoric rise this past weekend at USA Cycling’s amateur road national championships. Jastrab (Rally-UHC) won the national titles in the junior women’s road race and junior criterium, adding national titles 20 and 21 to her haul of junior national titles across road and track.

Jastrab earned her first national cycling championship in 2014 when she was just 12 years old.

This year, however, Jastrab had to overcome team tactics to claim her victories. In both the road race and criterium, Jastrab battled against six riders from the Southern California-based Lux Cycling junior development squad.

“It was a lot more competitive this year because we usually never had team tactics and everyone was just racing for themselves,” Jastrab told VeloNews. “This year Lux was attacking and putting girls up the road and forcing me to chase. I had to do a lot of the work myself.”

Jastrab has a famously fast sprint, and earlier this year won two stages and the overall at the Health Aging Women’s Tour, thanks in part to her fast finish. Still, Jastrab knew she was not guaranteed to out sprint the Lux riders. Jastrab said she came into the national championship weekend recovering from a sickness that she caught after a recent track cycling campaign.

“I came in unsure of my fitness and I had to just trust that I still had the kick at the end and not put myself in a vulnerable position for Lux to attack me,” Jastrab said. “I found myself riding more defensively than in years past.”

In the end, the women’s junior road race did come down to a sprint, and Jastrab leapt from the field and took the victory ahead of Katie Clouse (DNA Cycling), with Jane Tullis of Lux in third.

Jastrab then battled Lux in the women’s junior criterium race. Again, that race came down to a field sprint which Jastrab won.

Lux did claim a national women’s title during the weekend, when Zoe Ta-Perez claimed the individual time trial crown, finishing just ahead of Jastrab. Earlier this year Ta-Perez and Jastrab raced as teammates on USA Cycling’s national junior women’s team in Europe, and Ta-Perez helped Jastrab claim third at Gent-Wevelgem and win the Healthy Aging Tour. Jastrab said racing against her former teammates is simply part of the game in U.S. women’s racing.

“It’s funny because we’re working together and having these plans to win in Europe,” Jastrab said. “And now we switch to wanting to beat each other.”

Jastrab’s competition season continues through July and August, which will see her switch focus to the track. Jastab will then participate in the UCI road world championships in Yorkshire.

Women’s Junior Road Race

  1. Megan Jastrab, Rally-UHC, 2:33:03
  2. Katie Clouse, DNA Cycling, 2:33:03
  3. Jane Tullis, Lux Cycling, 2:33:03
  4. Summer Gilbert, Junior Cycle Sport, 2:33:04
  5. Ava Sykes, Lux Cycling, 2:33:05

Women’s Junior Individual Time Trial

  1. Zoe Ta-Perez, Lux Cycling, 28:53.83
  2. Megan Jastrab, Rally-UHC, 30:00.68
  3. Katie Clouse, DNA Cycling, 30:41.76
  4. Faith Montreuil, Zone-6 Endurance, 31:10.72
  5. Gabrielle Lehnert, Lux Cycling, 32:07.90

Women’s Junior Criterium

  1. Mega Jastrab, Rally-UHC, 44:07
  2. Ava Sykes, Lux Cycling, 44:08
  3. Elizabeth Harden, CWA Racing, 44:09
  4. Gracie Pendleton, Nashville Local Cycling, 44:10
  5. Summer Gilbert, Junior Cycle Sport, 44:10