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Clara Honsinger snags podium spot in World Cup cyclocross opener

Posted by on September 16th, 2019 at 5:57 pm

Portlander Clara Honsinger (Team S&M) enjoyed her first Elite Women’s World Cup podium at Jinglecross in Iowa on Saturday.
(Photos: Drew Coleman)

“Incredible. This was absolutely a surprise. For anyone who’s been watching her rise through the ranks this is something you dream of happening you just don’t expect it to happen so soon.”

Honsinger didn’t let a tough start bother her.

Those were the words of television commentator Tim Johnson at the precise moment Portlander Clara Honsinger surged into the lead of the Jinglecross World Cup cyclocross race on Saturday in Iowa.

Honsinger, who rides with Sellwood-based Team S&M, served notice that her exciting results last season were not a fluke. Honsinger started in the second row and found herself behind 19 other riders in a messy and difficult sand pit section on the first lap of the six-lap race. Forced to dismount, the 22-year-old kept her cool and kept her legs moving forward. By the second lap she was in ninth place. The sand pit that trapped her on the first lap ended up being what catapulted her into contention.


While every racer in front of her stayed to the left in the sand, Honsinger found a line on the right and powered past them (see video above). On lap three, she used this move to fly into third place. By the fourth lap she found herself off the front with two other (far more experienced) riders. Midway through the race, Honsinger, oozing confidence, passed decorated Canadian rider Maghalie Rochette into first place.

Honsinger never faltered and hung on for third place. It was a fantastic finish for a humble “kid from Oregon” who now finds herself among the best cyclocross racers in the world. It’s a testament not only to Clara’s cycling ability but to the support of her team.

Way to go Clara and Team S&M!

We were lucky to have had Drew Coleman on hand to see this race. Enjoy more of his photographs below…

Post-race hug from mechanic, manager and #1 fan Brenna Wrye-Simpson.

She’ll have to get used to lots of attention.

High-fives at the finish.

Honsinger with Maghalie Rochette (center) and Katerrina Nash.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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    abomb September 17, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Congratulations Clara and Team S&M. As being the first S&M racer from back in 1992 this sure is a proud moment. Kudos to Tonkin for doing such a good job at continuing racer development.

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    Dan A September 17, 2019 at 9:20 am

    A Portland cyclist podiums a World Cup race!! Has this ever happened before? WOW. Loved watching her take the ‘Sven line’ through the sand.


    Full Replay:

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    Brian September 17, 2019 at 9:33 am

    Congrats to Clara and Team S & M. That is an amazing accomplishment.
    Also, I am really digging the addition of race reporting to this blog. Coverage like this is lacking, locally. Thanks for adding it to the rotation, Mr. Maus.

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 17, 2019 at 10:52 am

      Glad you appreciate the coverage Brian. And just FYI I’ve always covered racing… just not as much as I’d like. ALSO: I am able to bring you this coverage and pay Drew Coleman for these wonderful images because of subscribers and others who financially support BikePortland. That’s how it works: Support this site and we expand/improve the product.

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    Kimberlee September 17, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    That race was so exciting to watch. Clara totally dominated that sand pit, but Rochette was faster than everyone on that run up Mt. Crumpit.

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    Kimberlee September 17, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Also, in that last photo – second place was Katerina Nash. Evie Richards races for Trek this year (and she got 5th).

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    Eric September 17, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Not surprised. Clara is a beast, this was inevitable.

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    Toby Keith September 18, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Great work racers! Congrats!

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