This past December was one of the best months for California-native Vida Lopez de San Roman, at just 17 years of age. Her “super special” cyclocross season earned her the US women’s junior national title followed by her first European victory, in the junior division at Vestingscross in Hulst, Belgium.
That victory makes Lopez de San Roman one of the best hopes for a medal among Team USA, across all age groups at the upcoming UCI Cyclocross World Championships. Lopez de San Roman turned 18 on January 23 and is looking for a belated birthday celebration in Tabor.
“Winning my first European race was super special. Having everything come together to win a race in Europe has been something I have been working towards all season,” she told Cyclingnews.
And it wasn’t just her first international CX victory, but she made history in Hulst by winning the first-ever CX World Cup for Team USA. She also did it wearing the stars-and-stripes jersey.
Lopez de San Roman attributed her win in Hulst to technically-sound laps and keeping her expectations in check. She admitted she fell in love with the course during pre-rides the day before the race, and it all came together for the perfect day.
While the US has had 12 medals at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in its history, only one of those has been gold – Matt Kelly in 1999. Will Lopez de San Roman make it two? She has the talent to make it happen.
Lopez de San Roman has already had many other dazzling days with off-road racing – she’s won seven junior medals at US mountain bike nationals, including a gold in 2019 in cross-country.
She said it was her family who had set the groundwork for her abilities and aspirations. In fact, before her final ramp-up to Worlds at World Cup Benidorm, she spent two weeks with family members in Spain for training and “resetting by preparing mentally and physically for the upcoming two weeks”.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have parents who have been so supportive of my racing ever since a young age, but also were former elite athletes of their own in completely different sports who understood my love and determination for competition at such a young age, sacrificing so much for me to bring me closer to my dreams of being a World Cup level cyclist and believing in me,” Lopez de San Roman enthused about her father Joaquin, who is from Spain and had a professional tennis career, and her mother who was a classical ballet dancer.
While her brother, Ian, has also been successful…