KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The 2021 USA Cycling National Championships wrapped up Sunday with the Pro Road Race. According to USA Cycling, this year’s event had record participation and it’s the first major American road event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lauren Stephens and Joseph Rosskopf both took home the gold and the stars-and-stripes after winning their events in the Pro Road Race. The women’s race started Sunday morning and the riders covered 71 miles over nine laps.
“We had four riders coming into this race, and we had four strong riders. I said last night that we didn’t have any fluff. We were confident with many different scenarios. So, we knew we needed to make this race hard. And that was our goal,” said Stephens about her team’s strategy coming into the race.
The men’s race started shortly after the women’s in the afternoon and covered nearly 119 miles over 15 laps. This is Rosskopf’s third professional national title and first in the road race. He previously won the Time Trial in 2017 and 2018.
“We divided the team into the first and second half of the race. Just to give an opportunity to a few guys to try to float as much as possible, you know, without taking themselves out of the race. But just save, conserve, conserve, conserve until the second half,” said Rosskopf. “It worked amazingly, and so it’s hard to win this because if you don’t have the numbers, all the strongest guys are just staring at each other.”
This race wraps up three days of racing. Cyclists competed in the Individual Time Trial National Championships on Thursday and the Criterium National Championships on Saturday. This year’s event also hosted seven members of the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team.
Lawson Craddock, the only male member of the Olympic team to attend, placed within the top ten for both the Time Trial and the Pro Road events. The women on the Olympic team took the top three spots in the Time Trial. During the Criterium, they took home silver and bronze in Criterium, and three placed in the top ten of the Pro Road race.