Alise 23 Worlds 1130x600
Team USA
2023 World Championships

Double Bronze in BMX Racing Closed Out the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships for Team USA

By: Angelina Palermo  August 13, 2023

Alise Willoughby and Ava Corley made it on the podium in BMX Racing, along with Lauren Stephens taking top 20 in the Elite Women’s Road Race. Megan Jastrab earned fifth in the U23 Women’s Road Race.

GLASGOW – On the last day of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championship, the Americans picked up two bronze medals in BMX Racing. Former World Champion Alise Willoughby  (Saint Cloud, Minn.; Team Toyota/ Daylight Cycle Co.) earned third in the Elite Women’s event, while Ava Corley  (La Mirada, Calif.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team) fought to third in the Junior Women’s race. On the road, Lauren Stephens  (Dallas; EF Education-TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) was the top-placing American in the Elite Women’s Road Race, coming in 18th. Even with mechanical issues, Megan Jastrab  (Apple Valley, Calif.; Team DSM) earned fifth in the U23 Women’s Road Race.

BMX Racing

Willoughby threw down in Sunday morning’s Elite Women’s quarter-finals, riding extremely smooth as she placed second in her heat, making for an easy transfer into the semi-finals. She duplicated her efforts in the semi-finals, keeping her head about her and coming across the line in second. In the final, Willoughby started in gate four, and while she wasn’t the first down the hill, she made up for it through the next two turns, consistently moving up. She finished third, earning the bronze.

Willoughby is the most senior member of the BMX Racing team and is always looking for new ways to stay on top of the Elite Women’s field. She said, “I think as you get older, you get more experience, and there’s not a lot you haven’t seen before. But at the same time, every time we get into the gate, there are different parameters, different riders, different everything. As you inch into your thirties, you got to continuously relearn the body. The things that worked 10-, 5-, 2- years ago don't work again. So, you have to constantly be re-inventing yourself and improving. And I continue to do that in my training.” She went on to say, “I’m a pretty hard worker, and as you get older, your recovery gets more and more critical. For me, just knowing that every ounce of the recovery aspect is just as important as the training and all that. I’m a busybody, so it’s a challenge for me.”

The reigning World Champion, Felicia Stancil  (Lake Villa, Ill.; Factory SSquared/Answer), looked fast in her quarter-final, finishing second. In her semi-final heat, she was quick to start but was unable to hold her place into the first turn because of locking bars on the start straight. She placed sixth and did not transfer on. Lexis Colby  (Surprise, Ariz.; Gordy’s Bicycles) rode a quick lap in quarters to transfer out in the last qualifying spot and would end her day in the semi-finals. Payton Ridenour  (Pottstown; Penn.; Mongoose Bicycles) and Daleny Vaughn  (Tucson, Ariz.; DK Bicycles) were in the same quarter-final heat with Willoughby but were not able to transfer out.

Elite Women’s BMX Racing

1 – Bethany Schriever (GBR)

2 – Laura Smulders (NED)

3 – Alise Willoughby (USA)

12 – Felicia Stancil (USA)

13 – Lexis Colby (USA)

18 – Delany Vaughn (USA)

23 – Payton Ridenour (USA)

In the Elite Men’s quarter-finals, the sole American left in the event, Pan American Champion Kamren Larsen  (Bakersfield, Calif.; Haro Bikes), was charging off the hill for the final transfer spot. He tried to swoop underneath fourth place in the last turn and crashed, unfortunately ending his run for the World Championship title.

Elite Men’s BMX Racing

1 – Romain Mahieu (FRA)

2 – Arthur Pilard (FRA)

3 – Joris Daudet (FRA)

24 – Kamren Larsen (USA)

37 – Joseph Leto (USA)

43 – Jeremy Smith (USA)

Multi-time national champion, McKenzie Gayheart  (Fort White, Fla.; Factory Full Tilt/ Radio), had a successful day on the hill, showing the U23 Women’s field what Team USA is made of. Gayheart rode a solid semi-final, took position three in her heat, and transferred out of the semi into the main event. In the final, she fought through and placed seventh. Carly Kane  (Guilford, Ind.; DK Bicycles) finished fifth in the semi-final, just missing out on transferring to the main.

U23 Women’s BMX Racing

1 – Tessa Martinez (FRA)

2 – Emily Hutt (GBR)

3 – Megan Williams (NZL)

7 – McKenzie Gayheart (USA)

9 – Carly Kane (USA)

U23 Men’s riders Brayden Kempel  (Ramsey, Minn.; FXR Factory Super Store) and Spencer Cole  (Palm Harbor, Fla.; Supercross BMX) were in the same heat of the quarter-finals, up against eventual bronze medalist Rico Bearman of New Zealand. While both riders laid it out on the track, neither were able to transfer out of the quarter-final.

U23 Mens BMX Racing

1 – Filib Steiner (SUI)

2 – Mateo Colsenet (FRA)

3 – Rico Bearman (NZL)

20 – Brayden Kempel (USA)

23 – Spencer Cole (USA)

28 – Drew Polk (USA)

In the Junior Women’s event, 2022 Challenge World Champion Ava Corley  (La Mirada, Calif.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team) looked extremely fast in her quarter-final and semi-final laps. She won both laps with sizeable margins, becoming one of the clear favorites going into the final. After a near crash in the first turn, Corley pulled it off and finished in third. “It was a big, big roller coaster. I did super well in rounds, winning every round except the main event. I went into the main event, knowing it was going to be a really stacked gate. I almost crashed in the first jump, got pinched, and nose-dived, but I got right back on the pedals. I really wanted to hunt down that podium spot. I ended up passing in the last corner to get third,” said Corley.

Keiley Shea  (La Habra, Calif.; 316 Racing) was caught in a crash on the first straight in her quarter-final ride but fought through it and claimed fourth place, allowing her to transfer to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, Shea ended her day in the semis, unable to move into the final.

Junior Women’s BMX Racing

1 – Veronika Monika Sturiska (LAT)

2 – Sienna Pal (AUS)

3 – Ava Corley (USA)

10 – Keiley Shea (USA)

James (Cutter) Williams (Potomac Falls, Va.; Tangent/ Rift/ Rockstar Racing Team) lead the U.S. for the Junior Men’s competition. He qualified easily into the semis, tying for second in his heat. Going into the semi-finals, Williams put up a fight but would sprint to the line and finish in fifth position. For Cedric Cade (Henderson, Nev.; Remix BMX), the 2022 Challenge World Champion, it came down to a photo finish for the final transfer spot, and he, unfortunately, did not transfer out of the quarter-finals.

Junior Men’s BMX Racing

1 – Thomas Maturano (ARG)

2 – Federico Capello (ARG)

3 – Tommaso Frizzarin (ITA)

9 – James (Cutter) Williams (USA)

18 – Cedric Cade (USA)

41 – Patrick O’Brien (USA)

43 – Ethan Popovich (USA)


The Elite and U23 Women lined up in Loch Lomond Sunday morning for the 154.1-kilometer road race. The team of Heidi Franz (Seattle; DNA Pro Cycling), Jastrab, Coryn Labecki  (Tustin, Calif.; Team Jumbo-Visma), Skylar Schneider (Milwaukee, Wis.; L39ion of Los Angeles), Stephens, and Lily Williams  (Tallahassee, Fla.; Human Powered Health) represented the United States in the event. The race saw a lot of action, including an early break, but riders were reabsorbed. The pack eventually splintered into two main groups but rejoined the main pack heading into George Square. Labecki, the team leader, had to drop out earlier in the day after going down in a bad crash on the group's journey into Glasgow. Once riders arrived in downtown Glasgow, the field was in shambles. With only two American riders left towards the front of the race, Team USA had to reassess their game plan. Mechanical issues plagued the team, with flats removing Franz and Williams from the main peloton as they entered the City Centre Circuit. Stephens and Jastrab rode together until Jastrab got a front flat, forcing her to drop back. The Swiss rider, Elise Chabbey, kept a substantial lead over everyone else for the last half of the race. Chabbey was eventually joined by several other riders, including future winner Lotte Kopecky (BEL). She rode a smart race in the last lap and pulled away from her competitors. Stephens finished several minutes back in 18th. Jastrab was the second American to finish. She rode to 36th but was 5th overall in the U23 category.

It was a challenging race, with many mid-race changes for Team USA. Stephens said, “We went in with a plan of racing for Megan Jastrab today. But unfortunately, she had a front puncture on the first lap of the circuit. And when you get so far behind on a circuit like this, it’s just really difficult to catch back on.” After being the lone American left in the front group, Stephens changed tactics, saying, “I focused on putting myself in a good place, conserving energy. I knew this was going to be a race of attrition, so I wanted to go out and get the best result I could once I was there by myself.”

Elite Women’s Road Race

1 – Lotte Kopecky (BEL)

2 – Demi Vollering (NED)

3 – Cecilie Ludwig (DEN)

18 – Lauren Stephens (USA)

36 – Megan Jastrab (USA)

DNF – Heidi Franz

DNF – Lily Williams

DNF – Coryn Labecki

DNF – Skylar Schneider

DNS – Chloe Dygert*

U23 Women’s Road Race

1 – Blanka Kata Vas (HUN)

2 – Shirin van Anrooij (NED)

3 – Anna Shackley (GBR)

5 – Megan Jastrab (USA)

Thank you, Scotland!

This concludes the first-of-its-kind 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. At the elite level, USA Cycling captured five World titles along with four medals. It was full of highs and lows, but Team USA’s camaraderie and willingness to fight to the end made the team so special.

USA Cycling’s President and CEO Brendan Quirk said, “Super Worlds was a complex event that the UCI executed exceptionally well. The people of Scotland were warm and gracious hosts to the global cycling community and put on unforgettable events. As far as the performance of Team USA, this was a great step forward toward our goals for Paris 2024. I’m excited about our medals, and the almost-medal performances, where our riders gave it their all, even if it might not have worked out in their favor. We proved that we have strength in our development programs, and we’re headed in the right direction for the future of American cycling.”

Team USA’s Medal Count:

1st - Chloe Dygert - Individual Pursuit

1st - Jennifer Valente - Scratch Race

1st - Hannah Roberts - BMX Freestyle Park

1st - Jennifer Valente - Omnium

1st - Chloe Dygert - Individual Time Trial

3rd - Nick Bruce - BMX Freestyle Park

3rd - Jennifer Valente - Elimination Race

3rd - Alise Willoughby - BMX Racing

3rd - Ava Corley - Junior BMX Racing

All of USA Cycling’s coverage from the event can be found on our World Championships website at