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Team USA
2023 World Championships

The United States Achieves Four Top-20 Finishes in U23 Road Race and Elite Cross-Country on Penultimate Day of World Championships

By: Angelina Palermo  August 12, 2023

Gwendalyn Gibson has the ride of the day, earning eighth in the Elite Women’s Cross-Country race.

On the penultimate day of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, Team USA competed in the Mountain Bike, Road, and BMX Racing disciplines. With one day remaining of the World Championships, the United States has a total of 21 medals and ranks third in the medal table, behind host country Great Britain and France.

Mountain Bike Cross-Country

The Elite Women started the day in Glentress Forest with their Cross-Country race. Savilia Blunk  (Inverness, Calif.; Rockrider FORD Racing Team), Kate Courtney  (Kentfield, Calif.; SCOTT-SRAM Factory Racing), and Gwendalyn Gibson (Ramona, Calif.; Trek Factory Racing) represented the U.S. in the event. The trio contested seven laps of the 3.5-kilometer course and were all in the top 15 in the first half lap. As the race progressed, Blunk and Gibson kept to the front of the race, staying in the top ten.

Gibson, who in 2022 earned bronze in the Short Track, was ecstatic with her eighth-place finish, “I’m super excited that's my best result of the season. It’s also my all-time career-best result. To do that at a World Championships, when everyone is at their top form, I think it’s really special, and I’m really happy with it.”

Behind Gibson, finishing in tenth, was National Champion Blunk. She finished between two riders from Mountain Bike powerhouse Switzerland, “I had a slower start but rode into the race. Super happy to finish in the top 10. I was in a Swiss sandwich the whole time, so it was a bit nerve-racking. I just had to ride my own race. I’m super happy to be coming back in the second half of the season.”

Courtney was the final rider to cross the line for Team USA, placing 29th.

Elite Women’s Cross-Country

1 – Pauline Ferrand Prevot (FRA)

2 – Loana LeComte (FRA)

3 – Puck Pieterse (NED)

8 – Gwendalyn Gibson (USA)

10 – Savilia Blunk (USA)

29 – Kate Courtney (USA)

The Elite Men’s Cross-Country was the capstone of racing at Glentress Forest. The eight-lap race saw Christopher Blevins  (Durango, Colo.; Specialized Factory Racing) as the only American to toe the start line. On the Monday before racing, while pre-riding the course, Blevins crashed, breaking his pinky finger and needing stitches on his chin. He cleared concussion protocol by the USA Cycling medical team in time to start on Saturday. Blevins had a tough call up to the line, starting 54th out of 98 riders. He kept charging the whole race and went from 57th at the start of lap two to finish in 37th. With the course as tight and punchy as it is, it’s been rare for riders to move up as dramatically as that through the week. When talking with Blevins about his injury earlier this week, he said, “Health always comes first. I took a little knock to the head, and I had to be honest with myself and talk to the doctors. Thankfully I progressed through the concussion protocol, and I was good to go on race day. I felt normal. It’s always a balance of pushing through good pain and listening to bad pain that you want to respect.”

Elite Men’s Cross-Country

1 – Tom Pidcock (GBR)

2 – Samuel Gaze (NZL)

3 – Nino Schurter (SUI)

37 – Christopher Blevins (USA)


The U23 Men’s Road Race kicked off on Saturday morning. A team of five riders that included Owen Cole (Chapel Hill, N.C.; Velocious Sport), Luke Lamperti  (Sebastopol, Calif.; Trinity Racing), Brody McDonald (Escondido, Calif.; Aevolo Cycling), Artem Shmidt  (Cumming, Ga.; Hagens Berman Axeon), and Colby Simmons  (Durango, Colo.; Jumbo-Visma Development Team) represented the United States on the 168.4-kilometer course. Riders started in Balloch and rode to Glasgow before embarking on seven laps of the circuit around George Square.

The first break to hold its ground consisted of eight riders, including American McDonald. The group maintained their lead for over 50 kilometers. Eventually, two riders broke away from the main group and joined the breakaway. As the race entered the second lap of the circuit, the rain started to come down, making the corners incredibly slick. The front group split again, and more riders attempted to break away individually. However, Axel Laurance (FRA) was the only one who executed a strong enough attack that stuck. He rode the last few kilometers with a mere 15-second lead over the chase group, securing victory.

The main peloton swallowed McDonald back into the group with three laps remaining around Glasgow City Centre. At the end of the race, Lamperti was the top American for that group, finishing in 15th, followed by Simmons in 16th. Simmons rode an unbelievably strong race, especially after flatting early on. When asked about his race, he said, “I didn’t have the best of luck. I flatted on the run into the circuit. The pace was quite high then, so I just switched bikes. I got back to the front, once I got back to the front, there was a crash, so I had to work to get around that, and it felt like I was just constantly chasing. Me and Luke [Lamperti] were both there. We were just kind of surviving.”

McDonald crossed the line later, securing 41st for Team USA. Completing the ensemble, Cole arrived in 56th place. Notably, the United States was among a select few teams that weathered the storm of mechanical mishaps and drenched conditions, enabling the majority of their riders to cross the finish line.

U23 Men’s Road Race

1 – Axel Laurance (FRA)

2 – Antonio Morgado (POR)

3 – Martin Svrček (SVK)

15 – Luke Lamperti (USA)

16 – Colby Simmons (USA)

41 – Brody McDonald (USA)

56 – Owen Cole (USA)

DNF – Artem Shmidt

BMX Racing

19 American riders headed to the Glasgow BMX Centre on Saturday to tackle Round 1 of the BMX Racing events. Competing across six categories, the group did well, with 18 athletes moving into the next round of competition. The women’s Elite, U23, and Junior squads, led by defending World Champion Felicia Stancil  (Lake Villa, Ill.; Factory SSquared/Answer) and previous World Champion Alise Willoughby  (Saint Cloud, Minn.; Team Toyota/ Daylight Cycle Co.), all sailed through their Round 1, and will pick up racing again on Sunday in their quarter-final rounds.

The Elite, U23, and Junior Men’s teams had a bit more racing to do on Saturday, also contesting the 1/8 Rounds. Of the nine U.S. men who made it to these rounds, seven moved on and will race in Sunday’s quarter-finals. Kamren Larsen  (Bakersfield, Calif.; Haro Bikes) showed how to ride a lap of the track, going toe to toe with Olympic Champion Niek Kimmann of the Netherlands.

Up Next

It’s the final day of the World Championships. 16 Americans will take on the Quarter-Finals through the Finals on Sunday. Make sure to catch Willoughby and Stancil as they lead the Elite Women, Larsen in the Elite Men, McKenzie Gayheart  (Fort White, Fla.; Factory Full Tilt/ Radio) in the U23 Women, Brayden Kempel (Ramsey, Minn.; FXR Factory Super Store) in the U23 Men, Ava Corley  (La Mirada, Calif.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team) in the Junior Women, and Cutter Williams  (Potomac Falls, Va.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team) in the Junior Men as they go on the hunt for rainbow stripes. Six Americans will start the Elite Women’s Road Race, including the Queen of Flanders, Coryn Labecki  (Tustin, Calif.; Team Jumbo-Visma), and U23 wunderkind, Megan Jastrab  (Apple Valley, Calif.; Team DSM). Due to ongoing illness, and at the recommendation of the USA Cycling medical team, Chloé Dygert  (Brownsburg, Ind.; CANYON//SRAM Racing) has decided not to start the event.