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Kendall Ryan rides off the front to win 2021 U.S. national criterium championship

Megan Jastrab and Coryn Rivera, both headed to the Tokyo Olympics, finished in second and third place.

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Kendall Ryan (L39ion of Los Angeles) rode off the front of a star-studded field to win the 2021 US national criterium championship.

“Last time I won was 2015, so it’s been a while and I’m so happy,” Ryan said

Ryan launched her winning move with three turns from the finish, inside of 400 meters to go, and this tactical move proved to be the winning move.

Tokyo Olympic teammates Megan Jastrab and Coryn Rivera (both Team DSM) finished in second and third respectively. They chased after Ryan in the final half-kilometer but were not able to close the gap.

“If it came down to a sprint, I remember what Emma White did to me in 2019 so I wanted to go with that game plan. So I just tried to go with that corner. I just knew I needed to make that corner first,” Ryan said. “I was fighting Megan Jastab through that corner, and my pedal, my cleat actually came out of the pedal in the third corner to go, so that was pretty wild. I stuck it back in and went for it full-gas.”

The weekend previous at the Tulsa Tough series, Ryan was on the podium twice with a first-place and a third-place finish.

Ryan., 28, was on the USA Cycling “Long Team” in the lead-up for the Tokyo Games, however, she was not named to Team USA.

From the gun, Rally Cycling and L39ion of L.A. went to the front for several laps to get the race moving.

Holly Breck (Rally Cycling) took an early flyer and was given some leash, with teammate Krista Doebel Hickcok back in the field to support her.

Through the middle third of the race, Fount Cycling Guild sent rider after rider off the front.

Inside of 15 laps to go, Jastraab and Rivera went on the front to bring back escape attempts. They were aided by Doebel-Hickok and her teammate Madeline Bemis.

The gap to the front was slowly narrowed over the successive 5 laps, while Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM) worked her way to the front, and was shadowed by the two Team DSM riders.

This move split the race in half, and the group on the front narrowed to fewer than two dozen.

A crash on the last turn, into the uphill stretch, gapped riders who were not in the front 10, distancing Ayesha McGowan (Liv Racing).

Fount Cycling Guild again tried to send riders up the road, but these moves were quickly brought back, as L39ion of L.A. massed on the front.

Racing single-file in the final two laps, the speeds were high to keep moves from going off the front.

A crash in the final corner of the final lap gapped the 20 or so riders on the front, further splitting the field which gave chase after Ryan, who had already escaped.

2021 Women’s U.S. National Criterium Championship Results

  1. Kendall Ryan (L39ion of Los Angeles), 1:09:20
  2. Megan Jastrab (Team DSM), at 00:01
  3. Coryn Rivera (Team DSM), at s.t.
  4. Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM), at s.t.
  5. Skylar Schneider (L39ion of Los Angeles), at s.t.
  6. Christina Gokey-Smith (Colavita/HelloFresh), at s.t.
  7. Katie Clouse (Rally Cycling), at 00:06
  8. Tina Pic (Colavita/HelloFresh), at 00:08
  9. Danielle Morshead (LA Sweat), at s.t.
  10. Sinead Miller (Nashville Local Cycling), at s.t.