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Honsinger pulls major upset at nationals

Ashland’s Clara Honsigner pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the U.S. Cyclocross National Championships on Sunday when she defeated perennial champion Katie Compton in Lakewood, Washington.

Honsinger competing for the first time in the elite women’s division, won the race in 50 minutes, 16 seconds, beating runner-up Rebecca Fahringer (50:45) and third-place Compton (51:36).

Cyclocross is off-road bicycle racing over a variety of terrains and obstacles that requires riders to carry their bikes through some sections.

Honsinger, a former NCAA Division II champion for the University of Portland, lives in Portland and races for Team S&M CX.

She won the under-23 national title last year, her first U.S. championship.

Compton, 41, had won 15 straight national championships, a string that dated to 2004.

“It’s a progression of cyclocross, it’s not a changing of the guard,” Honsinger told VeloNews after the race. “We’re still out here racing together, it’s just a little switch up in what it’s been the last few years.”

Compton and Fahringer, who leads the USA Cycling Pro CX series, were out front at the start. After they jockeyed for position for a bit, Honsinger overtook Compton.

Honsinger’s strength through a muddy stretch allowed her to separate from Fahringer and wasn’t threatened thereafter.

Compton told VeloNews she knew the end would eventually come.

“It’s pretty amazing. I’m pretty happy to win from (ages) 25 to 40, that’s not too bad,” she said. “I knew it would end sometime and I would have liked to have gotten one more. I did what I could, and Clara and Becca were faster. What can you do?”

Clara Honsinger