2021 Road Worlds Day6 1130x600
Team USA

Kaia Schmid Earns Silver Medal in Junior Women’s World Championship Road Race

By: Tom Mahoney  September 25, 2021

MacPherson and Rivera earn two more top-10s for Team USA. Winder retires on a high note.

Kaia Schmid (Marblehead, Mass.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized) earned Team USA it’s first medal at the 2021 UCI Road World Championships, taking silver in the Junior Women’s Road Race during the penultimate day of the event. Teammate Makayla MacPherson (Corona, Calif.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized), raced well placing fifth in the same event. Also racing the Flemish countryside today was the Elite Women’s Road Race, where Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif.; Team DSM) just missed out on the field sprint and took home tenth. This marked the last professional race for long-standing member of Team USA, Ruth Winder’s (Boulder, Colo.; Trek-Segafredo) before she enters retirement.

Junior Women

The Junior Women’s Road Race saw a large group at the start line, with 112 starters. Toeing the start line for Team USA today, and joining Schmid and MacPherson were Olivia Cummins (Fort Collins, Colo.; LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized) and Chloe Patrick (Carson, Calif.). The team completed five laps of the Leuven circuit for a total of 75-kilometers.

Cummins, MacPherson, and Schmid were power players early in the race, avoiding the initial crashes in the field to push ahead. Each rider took her turn at the front of the field, attacking and responding to attacks from other countries.

Schmid broke away from the field with 30 kilometers to go with Zoe Bäckstedt of Great Britain. The pair were well matched together, working well to stay away from the field, at one point reaching almost a minute ahead of the chase. The pair would push their lead all the way to the end. It came down to a photo finish where Bäckstedt out-sprinted Schmid and claimed the title. Schmid took home the silver.

Tatics played an important role in the decision making process for Schmid. Knowing that Bäckstedt had earned silver on Tuesday in the Time Trial helped inform how she would race with the Brit. She said, “I knew my best chances of winning today's race was coming down to a sprint just because I knew that even if I attacked, Zoe could have just sat on my wheel, and after I just put a big effort in, she could have re-attacked me. Getting to the line ahead of the field was the best way to go. Trying to bring it to a sprint between me and Zoe was my best chance of winning today's race.”

The initial lap of the event was crash-strewn, with Patrick getting taken down early. She recovered quickly and was on her bike, but by then the split in the field was too large to overcome.

It’s been a busy racing block for Schmid this fall. She left the U.S. in late August to head to her first race abroad for 2021. She said, “I raced in Cairo, Egypt for Track Worlds and I actually won the Elimination Race there, a second in the omnium, and third in the Points Race. I did my first European race in Ireland, Rás na mBan. I won two stages there and then won the Queen of the Mountain Stage with the hilltop finish. I was able to get second overall, and I won the points leader jersey, so it was good prep for the world championships.” Schmid will remain in Europe for the next month, training in Gerona, Spain.


1. Zoe Bäckstedt (GBR) 1:55:33

2. Kaia Schmid (USA) +0

3. Linda Riedmann (GER) +57

5. Makayla MacPherson (USA) +5

24. Olivia Cummins (USA) +4:30

79. Chloe Patrick (USA) +11:49

Full Results can be found here.

Elite Women

162 riders were at the start of the Elite Women’s Road Race in Antwerp, Belgium. Of those riders, six were wearing the national team kit of the U.S.; Rivera, Winder, Kristen Faulkner (Homer, Alaska; Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), Lauren Stephens (Dallas; Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), Leah Thomas (Santa Clara, Calif.; Movistar Team Women), and Tayler Wiles (Fairfax, Calif.; Trek-Segafredo). The team took to the challenging 157.7-kilometer course, working as a team to make sure that in the end, Team USA was in the hunt for the win.

The peloton stayed together for the majority of the first third of the race, coming down from Antwerp and through the first passing of the Leuven Circuit. The squad of six stayed towards the front to avoid crashes and bobbles that tend to happen in the rear of the race.

In the final 60-kilometers of the race, there was a split in the field. Rivera and Winder both were able to avoid the division and make it to the lead group. Rivera said, “It was just me and Ruth from the Flandrien circuit and on. We had to share a bit of work. I tried to follow a couple moves that were easy for me in front of me while still saving for the sprint. Honestly, Ruth rode like ten women today. She had an awesome last race. She definitely gave it her all and covered all the important moves. By the end, I had to surf it for the sprint.”

After the split, Winder worked hard to keep the lead group from shattering, covering most moves on the course from the Dutch and Italian riders. After repeated attacks, counter-attacks, and defensive moves, the race came down to a bunch sprint, with the Italians setting up a lead-out for Elisa Balsamo to win against multi-world champion Marianne Vos of the Netherlands. Rivera was just behind them in tenth.

The day was significant to the team as it was Winder’s farewell event. With a few exceptions, she has raced extensively with the team members throughout her career. She said, “This is my last race. It’s a big deal. It feels a bit unreal that it’s over.” Winder isn’t retiring for lack of love for the sport, but to be closer to her family stateside, saying, “I’m ready. I have a really lovely family at home. If I keep racing into later in my 30’s, then I’ll feel pressured to start a family immediately. By leaving now, when I’m 28, it’ll give us time to enjoy.”


1. Elisa Balsamo (ITA) 3:52:27

2. Marianne Vos (NED) +0

3. Katazyna Niewiadoma (POL) +1

10. Coryn Rivera (USA) +1

21. Ruth Winder (USA) +17

52. Kristen Faulkner (USA) +8:22

56. Leah Thomas (USA) +9:13

71. Tayler Wiles (USA) +9:13

106. Lauren Stephens (USA) +13:21

Full Results can be found here.

Coming Up

The final day of the Road World Championships will conclude with the Elite Men’s Road Race, which will span 268 kilometers over the Flemish countryside. Wearing the red, white, and blue for Team USA will be Robin Carpenter (Philadelphia, Penn.; Rally Cycling), Lawson Craddock (Houston; EF Education - Nippo), Matteo Jorgenson (Boise, Idaho; Movistar Team), Brandon McNulty (Phoenix; UAE Team Emirates), Neilson Powless (Roseville, Calif.; EF Education - Nippo), and Quinn Simmons (Durango, Colo.; Trek-Segafredo).

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