Kaitlin Antonneau, the Racine native and Marian University junior, won her second straight collegiate Div. 1 Cyclo-cross title Saturday on a muddy course in Badger Prairie Park.
Antonneau secured the fifth stars & stripes jersey for the Wisconsin contingent racing close to home in the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross national championships. She will chase victory again on Sunday in the female U23 and Pro 1/2 race, seeking to match her two-victory performance a year ago.
Cyclocross Magazine recapped her race: Antonneau took the holeshot, and was untouchable from the start. Brittany Clawson of Fort Lewis gave chase and was able to stay close to Antonneau through the first set of barriers, but it was readily apparent that the race was Antonneau’s to lose. Behind the two, a group consisting of Kimberly Flynn (UNC), Sofie Gomez-Villafane (Fort Lewis), Kaylan Comer (Virginia Polytechnic), and Sarah Sturm (Fort Lewis) chased.
By the second lap, Antonneau and Clawson retained first and second, and Flynn had moved into third spot well ahead of the rest of the group. Behind them, D1 and D2 racers became intermixed and spread out across the entire course. With one to go, Flynn had moved into second spot, and Sturnm and Gomez Villafane were chasing for third.
Course conditions remained the dominant element of the 2103 Cyclo-cross nationals, with the rain, fog and melting snow creating a muddy, slow and treacherous track. Organizers used front-end loaders and other heavy equipment to smooth the most deteriorated sections of the 1.8-mile loop.
Check out Dave Schlabowske’s photos for a look at the epic cyclo-cross conditions.
Wisconsin riders enjoyed success in the mud, with Diane Ostenso (women 60-64), Julie O’Neil (women 65-69), Robert Downs (men 55-59), and Matt Shriver (men 30-34) taking national victories in the first four days of competition. Full results can be found here.
Racing continues Sunday, opening with the men’s collegiate Div. 2 race at 9:30 a.m. The pro and U23 women take the start line at 1 p.m. and the pro men at 2:15. Check here for the complete schedule, and here for a recap on the racing so far.
The weather will turn again overnight and the much colder temperatures will dramatically change the course, from mud to frozen ruts. The high on Sunday is forecast to reach 21, after a night with some snow and temperatures dropping to the single digits.