As a part of its mountain development program, USA Cycling will host a series of racing-oriented European development camps this spring and summer. The U23 and junior cross-country camps will be based in Kirchzarten, Germany, each running for a three-week period. Interested parties may submit attendance petitions to National Mountain Bike Development Director Marc Gullickson no later than April 1.
The first camp, running May 7-25 will be open to U23 riders only while U23 riders and juniors may attend the second and third camps on May 28 - June 15 and June 18 to July 6.
"These camps bring our cross-country mountain bike development program in line with USA Cycling's philosophy of focusing on developing our top young riders through international race experience," said Gullickson. "This plan will provide European mountain bike racing opportunities to a larger number of riders so that the World Championships isn't the first experience a young rider has racing outside of the US.
"In an effort to fill the World Championship team with medal capable riders, it is important to give these athletes an opportunity to prove they can compete and win against top international fields in advance of their selection to the World Championship squad. The camps will be an important stepping stone for young mountain bike riders to reach the top level of elite racing."
Levels of financial support will vary per rider qualifications. Full financial support will be offered only to 2008 U23 men's and junior 17-18 men's national cross country champions. Riders who qualified for automatic nomination to the 2008 World Championship team and will still be competing in the same age category, will only be required to pay round-trip air fare to Europe. All other attendees will be required to pay round trip air fare as well as an $850.00 camp fee.
One non-funded spot will also be awarded to the top finishing 21- or 22-year-old who places inside the top 10 in the Sea Otter Classic's elite men's cross-country race and another such spot will go to the top-finishing 19- to 20 year-old who places inside the top 20 in that same race. A third non-funded spot will be awarded to the winner of the Sea Otter Classic's junior men's cross-country race on April 19.
Men and women are invited to apply. Riders will be selected based on past international and domestic race results as well as performance at the 2008 National Mountain Bike Talent ID Camp.
Completed petition forms (found here: http://www.usacycling.org/forms/mtb/09MTB_DevCamp_Petition.doc) should be emailed to Marc Gullickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.