IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Quotes from some top contenders in Chattanooga

  
  


The riders pose with Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America
The riders pose with Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. (Photo by Casey Gibson)

Top contenders and key partners related to the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships gathered for a press conference Friday afternoon in the Volkswagen Chattanooga plant. See below for a list of speakers and quotes from the event.














 

SPEAKERS
 
Jonathan Browning
President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America
Andy Berke
Mayor, City of Chattanooga
Donna Bourdon
President of Continucare, Erlanger Hospital
Doug Rodgers
Executive Director, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee
Ian Lawless
Executive Director, U.S. Handcycling
Steve Johnson
President and CEO, USA Cycling
RIDERS:
 
Brent Bookwalter
Asheville, N.C./BMC Racing Team
Lawson Craddock
Austin, Texas/Bontrager Cycling Team
Alfredo De los Santos
Hopewell Junction, N.Y.,U.S. Handcyclist
Timmy Duggan
Nederland, Colo./Team Saxo-Tinkoff
Megan Guarnier

Mountain View, Calif./Rabobank

Kiel Reijnen
Boulder, Colo./UnitedHealthcare
Jeff Snover
Evans, Ga., U.S. Handcyclist
Evelyn Stevens
Dennis, Mass./Specialized-lululemon

Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America

Jonathan Browning of Volkswagen Group of America
Jonathan Browning of Volkswagen Group of America. (Photo by Casey Gibson)

"We often get asked, as an automaker why we support cycling. The answer really is simply that it's a shared passion for the environment and also for healthy living. We don't see cars and bikes as competing with each other. Indeed, if you look at most garages around the country, you see both cars and bike in them. As far as we're concerned, they're very much natural partners."

Andy Berke, Mayor, City of Chattanooga
"We know that we have this fantastic event for the next three years. That's a real opportunity for our city. We've built ourselves as a city on the outdoors, quality of life experience, looking at the mountains and rivers and the great natural assets we have. We appreciate the fact that this event is here and that you can play a role in showing people what Chattanooga really is. As we look to the future, we will continue to be a leader in the outdoors and we hope you enjoy your experience here and enjoy seeing the great place that Chattanooga is."

Donna Bourdon, President of Continucare, Erlanger Hospital
"We're so excited to have all of the support for the charity ride that we've received throughout the community. As you know, we're raising money to do renovations of the children's rooms, in particular the oncology rooms. We take care of a number of children with childhood cancer and we're very, very proud to be part of the work that's happening here to have the charity ride going on tomorrow and we're so thrilled to be involved with this very special event and so pleased to be a sponsor for the next three years, as well."

Doug Rodgers, Executive Director, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee
"UnitedHealthcare Community Plan is a managed care organization that provides benefits to our youth and others through the TennCare program in the state of Tennessee. We were at the Eastlake Community Center earlier today where we donated $1,000 to the center for the purchase of stationary bikes. Two of the athletes, John Murphy and Dan Summerhill, and they spent some time with the kids talking to them. We had probably 30 or 40 kids in attendance. They spoke to them about the importance of health and wellness, diet and exercise. If you think about it, these are children that have the potential to be cyclists and world-class competitors, themselves. All they need is the encouragement and opportunity. We think with the donation we gave this morning and other support that we have with our community partners shows the community that we can make a huge difference in the lives of these kids."

Ian Lawless, Executive Director, U.S. Handcycling
"This is the fifth year that we have partnered with USA Cycling to include a national criterium championship for handcyclists as part of the USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships. We're very honored to be part of that as we have been for the last four years. For me, it's really great to see our handcyclists up here with the pro cyclists talking about cycling because that's really what this is all about, this is about bike racing and about how cycling can improve your health, your overall well being, your morale. It's so fantastic for us to be involved in such a prestgious event. We really are honored."

Steve Johnson, President and CEO, USA Cycling
"We're very proud and honored to have the women riding with the men for the first time in the history of this event. It has been a longstanding initiative of USA Cycling and me personally to elevate the status of women's professional cycling. This is one of many components to that. For people that have been paying attention, you have noticed the United States has emerged as not just a men's cycling power, but a women's cycling power as well. It's really exciting to have the women here with the men."

RIDERS:
Brent Bookwalter (Asheville, N.C./BMC Racing Team) placed third in the time trial at the 2012 Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships
On his chances to win the time trial after coming close recently

TimmyDuggan, Brent Bookwalter and Evelyn Stevens
Timmy Duggan, Brent Bookwalter and Evelyn Stevens. (Photo by Casey Gibson)

"I sure hope so. I had a few cracks at the USA Cycling professional road national title whether it be in the time trial or the road race. I've been close on a few occasions, but I haven't been able to seal the deal. I'm really motivated in Chattanooga, this weekend. I was fortunate enough to call Chattanooga home for a year while my now wife was going to college here at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. It feels like a special place. It feels like home as far as bike racing is concerned. We're not only in the United States, but we're in the southeast. We're in a place that I really enjoyed living in and feel connected to."

Lawson Craddock (Austin, Texas/Bontrager Cycling Team) won the Best Young Rider at the 2013 Amgen Tour of California
On the USA Cycling National Development Program

"I've spent the better part of the last six seasons in Europe. USA Cycling has done an excellent job of finding young kids who have great passion for the sport at a young age. The first time I went over to Europe was 16 years old. I had the extreme opportunity and I've been back every year since then. There are a lot of guys and girls up here that owe a lot to the USA Cycling National Development Program. What they're doing is they're paving the way for the next generation of American cycling. It's pretty clear that that generation is coming now. It's a very exciting future for us, as well."

Alfredo De los Santos (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.), U.S. Handcyclist
On when he decided to be a handcyclist

"For me, when I got wounded, I had a lot of questions. One of them was I wanted to be productive for my family, for myself. Because I had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), I was constantly very aggressive. I didn't know how to deal with it. When I was in the hospital, I was around the right people and they introduced me to handcycling. Through handcycling, I was able to physically and mentally connect myself and to the point that I was riding two hours per day. From two hours per day, I was doing 40 miles per week and now I'm to the point I just want to take it to the next level. I'm part of the development program for Rio 2016. I'm just going to keep pushing myself."

Timmy Duggan (Nederland, Colo./Team Saxo-Tinkoff) won the road race at the 2012 Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships
On being the national champion

"It's a huge honor. Career defining, absolutely. If you talk to someone on the street and you say you're a national champion, it doesn't even matter what sport it is, they know what that means. It's been a huge honor to pull on that Stars-and-Stripes jersey every single day for a year. To be able to wear that jersey at some of the great events we have here in the United States - Tour of Utah, USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Amgen Tour of California - in front of the home fans. It was a thrill all year long that I'll never forget."

Megan Guarnier (Mountain View, Calif./Rabobank) won the elite women's road race at the 2012 Elite, U23, Juniors & Paralympic Road National Championships
On the level of competition among American women

"I think being the American national champion and then going to race for the number one ranked team in the world that that's a good example of where women's cycling is in America. You have teams like Specialized-lululemon, who has a strong American presence in Europe, and seeing what we are constantly being compared with in the U.S. USA Cycling brings us over to Europe and we get a taste of what European racing is like and what we have to do to be the top in the world. We bring that back here. Every year it just gets more competitive and more competitive. We go back to Europe and the European teams start to turn their head and see how much talent is coming up in America. I think that speaks to the level in America."

Kiel Reijnen (Boulder, Colo./UnitedHealthcare) finished third in the road race at the 2012 Greenville Hospital System USA Cycling Professional Road & time Trial National Championships
On the courses in Chattanooga

"We just checked out the course this morning. We had a really enjoyable ride with people out honking and cheering for us, welcoming us to town. That's huge because having that sense of community for us is what makes the event. The events we talk about after the race, the events we get excited about year in, year out are the ones where the community rallies behind us. They're out there cheering. It makes it worth it for us. We don't want to go race out there by ourselves in a parking lot. We want to be out there. We want to be involved in the community. We want to be involved with the sponsors. We've already got that here. It's great."

Jeff Snover (Evans, Ga.), U.S. Handcyclist
On becoming a handcyclist

"For me, I was introduced to handcycling early on in my rehab process. Having been active duty military and an athlete before, I needed something. I had to have something. It was probably a year or year and a half after my injury, that I said, 'This is a sport I could actually compete in. I'm not just going to be a participant. I'm going to be an athlete.' It took me a little while to get to that level where I could compete, jumped in. It's been a process of entering races, working with a coach, training and becoming an athlete again."

Evelyn Stevens (Dennis, Mass./Specialized-lululemon) finished second at the 2012 Elite, U23, Juniors & Paralympic Road National Championships
On the women's national championships being held with the men's national championships

"I just want to say thank you to the sponsors, USA Cycling and Volkswagen for including the women in this event. I think America is leading the way for women's cycling and I think this event is going to showcase how exciting we race and the talent we have. I'm thrilled to be in Chattanooga. You're not lying when you say the community here in very welcoming."

PHOTO GALLERY



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