Americans ready to take on the world on the track
Nine of America's best track cyclists are set to take to the track at Hisense Arena in Melbourne, Australia for the 2012 UCI Track World Championships from April 4-8. With start spots at the 2012 Olympic Games in London this summer still up for grabs, the Americans are resolute in filling those spots themselves.
"The track sprint team heads into the World Championships full of optimism, but realize it's going to take a perfectly executed effort in the men's team sprint for them to challenge Venezuela, who has performed tremendously this season," USA Cycling Sprint Program Director Jamie Staff said. "We need to get every ounce out of the athletes on race day, and get them mentally ready for the race."
The Americans come into Australia after placing better than the Venezuelans in the last UCI Track World Cup in London in February. That finish has the Americans only 75 points behind the Venezuelans in the UCI's men's team sprint Olympic rankings as the two countries likely duel for the final start spot in the Olympic Games. The American trio of Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project London 2012), Kevin Mansker (Long Beach, Calif./Project London 2012) and Jimmy Watkins (Bakersfield, Calif./Project London 2012) will represent the Red, White and Blue in the men's team sprint on Wednesday to open the competition. That evening, Bobby Lea (Topton, Pa./Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA) will compete in the scratch race.
The next day, Lea is slated to compete in three races toward the men's omnium: the flying lap, points race and the elimination race. The United States is currently ranked 22nd in the UCI's men's omnium Olympic rankings and unofficially holds the final start spot for the Olympics. Lea, a 2008 Olympian, will have his hands full with strong riders from Japan and Argentina contending for the final Olympic start spot.
The women's team pursuit is also on Thursday's docket as the team of Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling), Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling), Jennie Reed (Seattle, Wash./OUCH Pro Cycling) and Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, N.C./Exergy Twenty12) look to build on the silver medal it earned at the 2011 UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Americans have unofficially secured a start spot in the women's team pursuit, as the U.S. sits in fourth in the world in the UCI's women's team pursuit Olympic rankings and tops among the Americas. Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Exergy Twenty12), who placed sixth in the points race at the 2011 UCI Track World Championships, will also compete in the women's points race before contesting the scratch race the next day.
"Sarah had a very strong showing in London, winning the omnium in the final round of the World Cup at the Olympic Test event in February," said USA Cycling High Performance Director of Endurance Programs Benjamin Sharp. "The team pursuit women earned the silver medal at last year’s World Championships in Apeldoorn and we are working to take another step up the podium in Melbourne."
On Friday, Blatchford, Lea and Mansker are scheduled to compete in the qualifying rounds of the men's sprint. Lea is also ticketed to contest the last three races of the men's omnium: individual pursuit, scratch race and the kilo. The women's omnium, which will feature last year's silver medalist, Hammer, begins with the flying lap, points race and elimination race on Friday.
On Saturday, Hammer will finish the women's omnium with the individual pursuit, scratch race and 500-meter time trial. Additionally, the final rounds of the men's sprint are slated for Saturday's races.
Each day's second session will begin at 7 p.m. in Melbourne and will be streamed live at www.universalsports.com. Additionally, Universal Sports will air a two-hour recap show on April 14 at noon EDT. Please find daily recaps, videos and a photo gallery from Melbourne on www.usacycling.org.
2012 UCI Track World Championships
April 4-8, 2012
Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) — team pursuit
Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) — omnium, team pursuit
Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Exergy Twenty12) — points race, scratch race
Jennie Reed (Seattle, Wash./OUCH Pro Cycling) — team pursuit
Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, N.C./Exergy Twenty12) — team pursuit
Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project London 2012) — sprint, team sprint
Bobby Lea (Topton, Pa./Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA) — omnium, scratch race
Kevin Mansker (Long Beach, Calif./Project London 2012) — sprint, team sprint
Jimmy Watkins (Bakersfield, Calif./Project London 2012) — sprint, team sprint
- USA Cycling announces team to contest 2012 Track Worlds - Mar 12, 2012
- Sarah Hammer wins omnium gold on final day of Track World Cup - Feb 19, 2012
This Article Updated March 30, 2012 @ 01:27 PM For more information contact: