Kendall Ryan wins Clarendon Cup

Marlies Mejias and Peta Mullens complete the podium.

Photo: Douglas Graham. Provided for by the Armed Forces Classic

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The American national criterium champion, Kendall Ryan, crossed the line to make it two for two, winning the 24th edition of the Clarendon Cup for L39ion of Los Angeles. Ryan had made history in 2019, becoming the first rider to win both days of the Armed Forces Cycling Classic, before completing the feat once again on Sunday. Virginia’s Blue Twenty24 Marlies Mejias finished second with Peta Mullens racing for Roxsolt Liv SRAM in third. Ryan secured the omnium win, while Mejias came in second. Ryan’s sister Alexis finished fourth on Sunday, to round the omnium podium in third for L39ion.

“This time was a lot trickier,” Kendall said, speaking of her repeat double from 2019. “It was a washing machine again like it was yesterday, I felt the whole day we were turning. Right before the line on the final lap, Jen (Valente) attacked. It was really hard, Shayna [Powless] and Alexis had to close that gap, which burned Shayna up. Alexis got around her with two corners to go, trying to take over and punch it for the line.”

The women got off to an aggressive start, racing for 50km around the 5-corner, 1km course weaving through city streets. After missing out on day 1, DNA Pro Cycling were eager to control the front, in hopes of setting up their star sprinter, Canadian Maggie Coles-Lyster for the finale. The crit specific squads from CWA, to L39ion, and Virginia’s Blue joined them in the battle for the front of the field.

Though several riders tried their hand, a break was never allowed to escape. The field was strung out time and time again as L39ion and DNA shut down any attempts to escape. Mexican Track Specialist, Jessica Bonilla, remained in the mix, chasing primes for CWA. She earned a second Most Heroic jersey for her efforts.

As the race came down to 5 laps to go, L39ion made their move and organized on the front. DNA did their best to disrupt their efforts, intertwining with the black train behind Kendal sitting 4th wheel. Once again, Mia Mangenello-Kilburg had Coles-Lyster sitting on her wheel as she kept her in contention. Like on Saturday, Jennifer Valente (Twenty24) attacked on the final lap. The Olympic Gold Medalist was chased down by Powless and Alexis, delivering Kendall at the front in the final meters to post for victory on the line.

“It was really hard in those last 5 laps,” Kendall said. “We had DNA battling us, trying to take over. It took us a minute to get organized. We all knew what we had to do. I think we’re really lucky to have Shayna and Alexis at the front, because Jen is super strong. I was pretty worried about that move, but we were able to orchestrate ourselves and get organized in the end. I was really proud. I think all of us are going to take a few days and sleep and recover for Tulsa next week.”

DNA would once again come up short, missing out on the podium with Coles-Lyster finishing in the top twenty. Her lead out, Mangenello-Kilburg was 5th on the day.

“You take risks and hopefully come out with rewards. We’ve got to try it, to perfect it,” Manganello said. “This is the first weekend we’ve been racing as this specific group, so we have some tweaks to work out. It’s the first, full-blown crit for a lot of them. We had a game plan to obviously put Maggie on the top step; we know she’s capable of it. We tried to do our best to get her there. Some days it doesn’t work out but we have Tulsa coming up so we’re pretty stoked about that.”

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