American back to racing cross country on international circuit
Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) has committed to joining the chase for US Olympic mountain bike team spots for the Games in London in the summer of 2012. With just over one year to go until the big day, Bishop will be competing in the Olympic test event at Hadleigh Park on Sunday.
Bishop used to race regularly on the international cross country circuit, but in recent years, he had switched to endurance racing with a focus on mountain bike marathons and stage races. However, starting earlier this season, he shifted his training and racing back to participating again in the shorter distance formats.
"Going for the Olympics is my first priority. I think I've shown that with my actions this season," said Bishop to Cyclingnews.
In US Pro XCT racing this season, Bishop won the Bonelli Park cross country and short track, was second at the Fontana cross country and was third at the Sea Otter cross country.
In World Cup racing, he finished 39th at the Dalby World Cup, 66th in Offenburg, one lap down at Mont-Sainte-Anne and 29th at Windham.
Just two weeks ago, Bishop raced to fifth place at the US cross country mountain bike nationals despite a soft tire near the race's end. Racing nationals was a last minute decision for him. He then skipped the US Pro XCT finals in Missoula, Montana.
"I'll be better off resting and then getting back to the strength I had in the spring," said Bishop just prior to his short mid-season break. "I know where my form will be once I take a good rest. It's all about performing, not about how many races you do. I've learned a lot in the last 10 years. It's all about how fast you go at the races that matter."
Bishop is still deciding whether to race the Leadville 100 marathon or the cross country World Cup in Czech.
"My start next spring in the chase for the Olympic spot is a high priority. The top 60 World Cup ranked riders get called up for the first World Cup. This year, I've gone from 275th in the world to being ranked in the 50s, so if I do Leadville that will be a bit of a setback for that although it's a tremendous event."
It won't be the first time that Bishop is chasing a spot on the US Olympic team. He was one of several male athletes featured in the Off Road to Athens documentary about the quest for Olympic mountain bike team spots. Bishop was not among those selected to the Olympic team that year.
Depending on its results, the United States will likely qualify to send one, two or three male mountain bikers to the Olympic Games in London.
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