Storylines leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games
No Race Radios: Without the use of race radios for the first time in modern Olympic history, team tactics and communication will become even more crucial and offer a potential advantage to recently nationalized top-level pro teams such as Sky (GBR) and GreenEdge (AUS).
Evelyn Stevens: Wall Street executive turned Olympian? In 2008, Stevens watched the Games from the comfort of her Wall Street office. After winning a Central Park criterium, the former banker experienced a quick rise to cycling stardom. Three years later, after winning consecutive time trial national championships, she will contest the road race in London.
Tyler Farrar: Triumph from tragedy - A sprint-specialist, Farrar worked his way up through USA Cycling’s Development Programs into the highest ranks of professional cycling. His toughest test however came on Oct. 22, 2008, when his father – Dr. Ed Farrar, an athletic, adventurous recreational cyclist – was struck by a car and paralyzed while riding his bike near his home in Wenatchee, Wash. Tyler also was profoundly affected by the untimely passing of his friend and training partner Wouter Waylandt, who died after crashing during a stage of the 2011 Giro d’Italia. Three years later, after winning consecutive time trial national championships, he will now represent the U.S. in the Olympic road race.
Taylor Phinney: In his genes - Phinney is poised to follow in his parents’ footsteps as a successful competitive cyclist. His mother, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, was the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in the women’s road race at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. His father, Davis, was the first American ever to win a road stage of the Tour de France and was an Olympic bronze medalist in 1984 as a member of the men’s team time trial squad. A combination of genetics and talent is responsible for Taylor’s quick ascent to the elite levels of competitive cycling. After competing in the 2008 Olympics as a track cyclist, Phinney successfully transitioned to road racing, winning the 2010 Pro Time Trial National Championships and, later that year, the U23 Time Trial World Championships. He is currently riding in the top level of men’s pro road cycling.
Kristin Armstrong: From stardom, to motherhood…and back to stardom? The 2008 Beijing Olympic cycling time trial gold medalist is poised to make a run at a second Olympic Games after giving birth to her first child, Lucas, in September of 2010.
A Pathway to the Pros: Over the last decade USA Cycling has invested more than $30 million in athlete development and has provided more than 3,000 young American cyclists a pathway to the pros. A stark contrast to the British (Sky) and Australian (Green Edge) models of nationalized professional teams, USA Cycling’s National Development program considers itself a pre-professional development organization and aims to graduate riders to the top-levels of professional cycling across all disciplines. As a result the American medal count at world championships has almost tripled since 2000 with nearly every 2012 Olympic-hopeful participating in the program to some degree.
Olympic Track Cycling Program changes: In the name of gender parity, four events were taken off the Olympic track cycling slate: the men’s and women’s individual pursuit, points race, scratch race and men’s Madison. In place of the four eliminated events, the International Olympic Committee added the women’s team sprint, women’s team pursuit and the multi-event omnium competition for men and women. While the elimination of the individual pursuit is a blow to the American squad that has won nearly half of the world championships in that event over the last four years; the mandate that no more than one start spot per country will be awarded for each event is likely to have an even larger effect on traditional track cycling powerhouses like Great Britain and Australia, leaving them with the possibility of fewer representatives in 2012.
Dotsie Bausch: “Cycling saved my life” - The former model and rower fell to her low battling drug addiction and eating disorders, but when a friend put her on a bike, the Kentuckian found her calling. She teamed with Sarah Hammer and Jennie Reed to earn a silver medal in the women’s team pursuit at the 2011 Track World Championships and is a strong contender to help lead her team to an Olympic medal.
USA Cycling Sprint Program Director Jamie Staff: British cycling star helps lead Team USA: As a 2008 gold medalist, USA Cycling’s new track cycling sprint coach Jamie Staff knows how to get it done. After collecting numerous titles, including world championships in both BMX and track cycling, the British-born Staff joined USA Cycling in 2010 and was charged with building a world-class sprint program through athlete recruitment and development. The program is based out of the Velo Sports Center in Carson, Calif., where Staff lives with his wife and two children. The British cycling superstar is set to return to his home country in 2012; this time to help lead Team USA’s track cycling program.
Jimmy Watkins: Firefighting ‘hotshot’ – An active, full-time firefighter, Watkins holds the unofficial position of "hotshot," a position considered elite among wildland firefighters due to extensive training, high physical fitness standards, and the ability to undertake difficult, dangerous, and stressful assignments. To keep up with the high physical demands of his job, Watkins, at age 21, started riding his bike and steadily got more involved in cycling. Naturally, he excelled in it. Now nearly 30, Watkins confesses that being married, having a young daughter (born in May 2010) and being a full-time firefighter leaves precious little training time and even less down time.
Bobby Lea: Bobby’s brother Syd, who suffered brain damage from a lack of oxygen at birth, is also a competitive cyclist and five-time Special Olympics gold medalist. Lea is also now coached by Canadian cycling legend Brian Walton.
Sam Schultz: Part of USA Cycling's first mountain bike development teams - In 2004, when he was just 18 years old, Sam Schultz became a part of USA Cycling’s first mountain bike development program. As soon as he graduated from high school, he was invited to move to Colorado Springs to focus full-time on becoming an Olympic-caliber mountain biker. He spent three years as a supported rider in USA Cycling’s program before graduating to the pro ranks and continuing to work toward his Olympic dream.
Lea Davison: Little Bellas – A former downhill skier and cross-country runner, Davison joined with her sister, Sabra, to co-found and co-direct a non-profit, all girls mountain bike mentoring program called Little Bellas. They run Sunday sessions and have a two-week long camp in Vermont. In 2010, the program expanded to a national level and now hosts a three-day camp in conjunction with the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, Calif., as well as another camp at the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival in Cable, Wisc. The Little Bellas is a mountain bike organization whose goal is to help young women realize their potential through cycling.
Arielle Verhaaren-Martin: After just missing out on the Games and watching her roommate, bring home the bronze in Beijing, Arielle Martin was determined to make it to London. Her biggest supporter is likely to be her husband, Spc. Mike Verhaaren, who while Martin is busy competing for her country around the globe, is busy serving it. He’s currently an active duty Army sergeant and black hawk crew chief stationed in Ft. Lewis, Wash.
Alise Post: The former gymnast turned to BMX after a competitive career in gymnastics, only to be denied the chance to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games because she was below the minimum age. This time around the 21 year-old is a strong contender in London.
Developing the future of American cycling: A part of USA Cycling’s National Development Program (NDP), the BMX Junior Development Program (JDP) is an identification and training pathway that introduces the Olympic Supercross style of BMX racing to the country’s top 15-16-year-old traditional BMX racers. Nearly all BMX Olympic-hopefuls under age 22 have come through the program vital to keeping the U.S. on top of the sport it invented.
Training & Nutrition
Pneumatic compression improving recovery time in cyclists? Pneumatic Medicine is the use of non-invasive, dynamic pneumatic compression to treat a variety of medical conditions associated with compromised peripheral circulation. Many endurance athletes are using pneumatic compression to improve recovery time. Through strategic compression, pneumatic devices gently but effectively force fluid from edematous tissues, dramatically and rapidly reducing swelling and induration.
Smaller time trial helmets offer increased flexibility: Time trial helmets are becoming smaller and more egg-shaped. These smaller, more manageable aerodynamic helmets allow for increased movement by the cyclist while still maintaining minimal wind resistance. These new designs could be particularly advantageous for the cyclist who has trouble holding his or her head still or those tackling a particularly technical course.
Can the ‘suit’ make the difference? Many professional teams and national cycling governing bodies have been experimenting with low-drag fabrics. Patterns and texture from the fabric’s weave can create high and low-pressure zones, similar to the dimples on a golf ball, to help air slide by the cyclist.
A new gear for BMX? BMX cyclist Barry Nobles is experimenting with a custom-designed two-speed hub that allows him to switch from a 44/16 to 44/15 in the air. In a sport where hundredths of seconds determine the winner, a little more on every pedal stroke may make all the difference.Road
This Article Updated July 20, 2012 @ 02:26 PM For more information contact: