USA Cycling National Development Team riders Austin Carroll and Guy East became the first American Madison pair to win the UIV Talent Cup Amateur Six Day competition. The duo used four top six finishes to lock up the series title ahead of last week's finale in Alkmaar, Holland. The overall Talent Cup winners are now guaranteed a professional contract for competition in two UIV Professional Six Day events during the 2009-10 season.
Carroll and East combined their top four series performances to tally 65 points on the season and best the second-place Dutch team of Yoeri Havik and Barry Markus by nine points. The American pair was third in Munich, Germany, won in Dortmund, also Germany, finished second in Gent, Belgium and ended in sixth place in Copenhagen, Denmark. They had already clinched the overall title ahead of the series final in Alkmaar, Netherlands, where they finished sixth. The Americans join the likes of past series winners including Iljo Keisse, Dmitri de Fauw, Ingmar de Poortere, Tim Mertens, Mark Hesters, Michael Mørkøv, Roger Kluge and Eric Mohs.
"These two riders showed dramatic improvement over last year where they predominantly raced for sixth-place-finishes," commented USA Cycling Madison Program Director Clay Worthington. "They arrived for this race block physically prepared and with a much greater understanding of the exchange technique, racing tactics, and an idea about how to win these events."
Aside from the UIV events, Carroll and East contested the Noel Forre Memorial, the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships, the Drei-Bahnen-Tournee and attended a USA Cycling training camp in Colorado Springs in September.
"The short term goal for our Madison programme is to facilitate the process of development and produce professional riders," said Worthington. "In the long term, our vision is to produce Olympic, world and world cup champions. We wanted to get our guys over there competing against the best, against the countries that are consistently producing medals in those events so they can gain that race experience and put us in position to earn some of those titles."
Carroll and East now plan to turn their attention toward the road where they will be racing all over the U.S. and Europe this summer as a part of USA Cycling's National Development Team. Although they will graduate from USA Cycling's Madison Program, the pair does plan to return to the UIV circuit next winter where they will be guaranteed competition in two of the prestigious UIV Six-Day Professional competitions.