Athlete Spotlight: Skylar Schneider
When the USA Cycling Team begins the three-stage Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM this week, keep an eye on Skylar Schneider (West Allis, Wis.). As a member of the USA Cycling Development Team, she won the silver medal at the 2016 UCI Road World Championships in Women’s Junior Road Race. Now, at age 19, she is a member of the USA Cycling National Team and is set to race in her second consecutive Amgen Tour of California with Team USA.
Schneider is one of six elite riders in the USA Cycling Team lineup for the California race. She will be joined by her sister, Samantha Schneider (West Allis, Wis.), Megan Guarnier (San Mateo, Calif.), Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Christina Birch (Los Angeles), and Jennifer Wheeler (Seattle).
While she was preparing to head back to the U.S. to race on home soil, Schneider talked about her expectations for the week’s Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM.
You competed in last year's Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race. How do you approach this year differently?
Last year's edition of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race was my very first WorldTour race, ever. I was so nervous! This year, I'm coming with experience in quite a few WorldTour races and after a Spring spent racing in Europe professionally with Boels-Dolmans. Combining last year's race experience, with knowing the courses, and with my fitness coming off of the Spring, I think I can approach this year's race with higher expectations of myself.
What does it mean to race in the biggest race in the U.S. wearing red white and blue?
It's a very special feeling and not something I take for granted for a single moment. Last year, the spectators were so empowering as they cheered, "USA USA USA!" I think it's essential to have the USA Cycling Team represented in the biggest race in America as it gives the American fans a special reason to cheer for the "home team."
Are you excited to race with your sister again?
Unbelievably excited! We raced in the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race together last year and that was one of the coolest experiences of our career so far. As we are on different professional teams this year, to be able to be teammates for the three days of racing is a dream.
Do you and Samantha train together when you’re in the same area?
Yes, we live in the same neighborhood in Wisconsin, so when we're both home we do 100% of our training together. Some days that means we're laughing the whole way to the coffee shop, and some days that means we're just trying to drop each other! It's great training!
What is it like for you at 19 to be racing with some of the best U.S. cyclists?
It's a privilege for me to be racing with and learning from the best U.S. cyclists. I really look up to Megan Guarnier and Katie Compton because not only are they successful cyclists and phenomenal athletes, they are really genuinely respectable women. I was teammates with Katie last year and am teammates with Megan this year, so to race with both of them on Team USA is pretty cool.
What is the best piece of advice another rider has given to you?
To just enjoy it. Really, it's quite simple advice but something important! This is what Amy Pieters [pro teammate] told me before my first races this year and it really stuck with me throughout the spring. The races weren't easy and the weather wasn't good, but I only have amazing memories because I enjoyed every ride. Every race I kept in mind that cycling isn't only my profession but also my passion, and I want to keep it that way for many more years!
The 2018 Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM runs from May 17-19. Over three stages, the team will travel nearly 188 miles in Northern California, including a flat, fast stage in and out of Elk Grove; the high-altitude Queen Stage in South Lake Tahoe; and a technical circuit around the State Capitol in Sacramento. The USA Cycling Team will race alongside an international field of riders representing 15 total women’s teams in the UCI Women’s WorldTour event.
Visit USACycling.org for more information on the team, and follow @USACycling on Facebook and Instagram as well as @USACyclingLIVE on Twitter for the latest on Team USA and for updates throughout the Amgen Tour of California Women's Race.
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