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USA Cycling Creates All-Discipline “National Team”

December 15, 2017 by  

USA Cycling National Team
It was like Hall of the Justice League at the US Olympic Training center in Colorado Springs, CO earlier this week, as 23 of the newly-named 51-member USA Cycling “National Team” came togdether for a day of briefings and meet & greet.

Top stars in seven disciplines were represented (BMX Freestyle, BMX Supercross, Mountain Bike, Cyclocross, Road, Track Endurance and Track Sprint).

This was the first time we got a glimpse of the Freestyle team as one unit, and got to hear their take on how conforming to the fairly-ridgid USAC/UCI/Olympic format squares-up with their decidedly anti-conformity sport.

“Whoever doesn’t want to ride the Olympics doesn’t need to, and whoever does…this is a great opportunity.”

That was how Freestyle site, Vital BMX, opened a video highlighting the team, with an on-camera quote by Pat Casey, one of the eight-member Freestyle squad.

The USA Cycling National Team was selected, not based on “teacher’s pet” rules, but based on certain results-specific criteria (see table below).

In BMX Racing, there are three levels (not surprisingly: Gold, Silver and Bronze) of support for which an athlete may qualify.

The USA Cycling National Team Members, and the results that qualified them to the program, are:

GOLD LEVEL QUALIFICATION (Alphabetically)
Connor Fields – Top 3 World Cup Overall
Alise Post – 1st at the World Championships
Corben Sharrah – 1st at the World Championships

BRONZE-LEVEL QUALIFICIATION (Alphabetically)
Sean Gaian – 15th World Championships
Dani George – 11th at World Championship
Mika Shaw – 16th at World Championship

Don’t let the “Gold/Silver/Bronze” levels confuse you, as it did us at first. Unlike the medal stand, where there is but-one Gold medalist, multiple people can qualify into the Gold level, and some levels (like silver in BMX) may not have anyone qualified.

Gold-Level qualifiers receive $25,000 in annual support from USA Cycling, and all-kinds of support services to keep their eyes on the prize between now and Tokyo. See the graphic below for the full table of bennies.

Bronze qualifiers are in a rarified environment, to be sure, but there is no financial support, per se.

News Caught up with Connor Fields, who qualified at the Gold Level for his top three finish in the 2017 World Cup standings. here’s what he told us about being named to the National Team:

I am super excited to have been a part of the official USA Cycling National Team launch this week in Colorado Springs.

I have been involved with USA Cycling for nearly 10 years now and this is the best program I have seen from them in that time.

It is easy to understand the different levels of support involved now. It is crystal clear how to earn them and what they include.

It was also great to meet and interact with members of the team from all different disciplines of cycling. We have access to so many recourses through USAC and USOC and to learn about more of them this week was great.

For me personally, I was most excited about the opportunity to learn more about all of the ways we can try to become better BMX racers with the resources available to us.

With the help of USA Cycling, I attained the following results:
2016 Olympic Champion
2017 USA BMX #1 pro
2013 UCI BMX World Cup overall Champion
2011 Pan American Games Gold Medalist
2012, 2013 UCI BMX World Champion – Time Trial
2012, 2014, 2016 USA Cycling National Champion

Thanks to Connor for taking the time to give us a first-person account of the experience.

We should add that membership on this “National Team” does not interfere with the athletes’ participation on their respective factory teams (“trade teams,” in USAC parlance). It also does not guarantee inclusion on the world championship team or world cup race delegations, all of which have their own qualification criteria.

We will have more on the USA Cycling National Team program, and how the athletes are making use of the services provided, in a future report.

—Mike Carruth

Links

USAC National Team Qualification Criteria and Benefits


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