Just two weeks after being named to represent the United States of America at the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing in August, Adam Craig successfully defended his US national cross country and Super D titles in Mount Snow, Vermont. Cyclingnews' Sue George spoke with Craig about his preparation for the Olympic Games and the effect the Games have had on his season.
It's not the first time Adam Craig has built a season around the Olympic Games. In 2004 Craig was one of four contenders for two positions on the United States of America Olympic team. After a season-long, global quest for the UCI points needed to make the team, Craig was not selected. However, in 2008, things have worked out quite differently.
"It is a lot better this time around - in part because the [selection] criteria is not absolutely ridiculous," said Craig, who turns 27 this week. "But I'm also four years older and four years faster, and I know what I need to do now.
"It - the effort to make the Olympic team - has been pleasant and pretty easy as far as hard things go," said Craig with a smile, looking back on his spring campaign.
Four years has given Craig more maturity, perspective, confidence and experience travelling in Europe. "I know as long as I'm riding decent that I can always be top 15 top 20 World Cup," he said. "I'm comfortable with myself racing now."
Craig credited his Giant team for providing a mechanic and a soigneur this time around. "I have better support," he said. "We have a good set-up. Knowing that's necessary and being able to put my foot down makes a difference. I said 'you know last time my bike broke a bunch and I didn't make the Olympic team - let's try to avoid that'."
Making the team
USA Cycling named Craig to the USA Olympic team along with Todd Wells, who also went to the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. Wells started off the 2008 season with a bang, sending the message to the others that he really wanted one of the two Olympic berths.
"Todd's got a leg up on me for sure," said Craig about a month before winning twice at Mount Snow. "He's been riding out of his skin. I've been riding fairly average.
"Todd's good at getting in shape for stuff," he added. "He's good at hanging out in Tuscon [Arizona] all winter and never missing a day of training and being ultra professional, so I wasn't surprised to see him up there. He's never ridden like this at World Cups before, but it's not like he's ever had to prepare for this before either. He's really stepped up and done well."
To read the full interview, click here.