American Carmen Small won the individual time trial in the Pan American continental championships today, beating Canadian Tara Whitten by 15 seconds in the 22km test. Clemilda Fernandez of Brazil was a distant third.
The victory earned Small an automatic nomination to the UCI Road World Championships, which will take place in Richmond, Virginia in September. Small was a bronze medalist at the 2013 Worlds in Florence. This year's championships are also the main stepping stone toward selection for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
“It was a pretty important day because its part of Worlds selection," Small said. "I haven’t had the best of luck lately and I was unsure of my fitness going in and how I would go today. Coming out on top is a pleasant surprise.”
Small has been hedging her bets for Rio, joining the USA National Team on the track over the winter in hopes of being part of the team pursuit squad, though illness excluded her from the track world championships earlier this year.
Carmen will return home to continue racing domestically, competing in the Tour of California invitational time trial with an eye on the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee later this month.
“Now I can come up with a plan (for Richmond). I was switching gears a bit there, riding track and now back to road. Now I have focal point and can focus on Richmond.”