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Dygert, Courtney and Van Garderen top USA long team for Tokyo Olympics

BERLIN GERMANY FEBRUARY 29 Chloe Dygert of USA celebrates after final of the Womens Individual Pursuit during day 4 of the UCI Track Cycling World Championships Berlin at Velodrom on February 29 2020 in Berlin Germany Photo by Maja HitijGetty Images
Chloe Dygert of Team USA (Image credit: Getty Images)

Chloe Dygert, Kate Courtney, Tejay van Garderen and Ian Garrison are just some of the names that have been selected to USA Cycling's 38-person long team headed to the postponed Tokyo Olympic Games rescheduled for July 23 to August 8, 2021.

The national governing body announced Thursday through live streaming the road, track and mountain bike long teams, hosted by Steve Schlanger along with special guest Patrick Dempsey, the Honorary Captain of the Olympic Cycling Team and avid cyclist.

The USA so far have qualified two men for track cycling: two in the Madison and one in the Omnium, and a full endurance squad for women's track plus one sprinter for the individual sprint and keirin.

On the road, the USA have spots for four women in the road race and two in the time trial but only two for men in the road race and time trial. 

Quotas for BMX and mountain biking have been delayed due to the race cancellations this season.

Dygert qualified automatically for the Olympic team after winning the elite women's individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Yorkshire last September. She will lead the front runners that also includes Coryn Rivera, national champion Ruth Winder, Tayler Wiles, Leah Thomas, Lauren Stephens, Katherine Hall, former world time trial champion Amber Neben and Krista Doebel-Hickok.

"It’s always an honour any time you get to wear the US colours," Dygert said. "It's been a blessing in disguise to have this break and to have [the Olympic Games] be postponed, so now I can really focus and do everything I can possibly do to really prepare for next year. It's a setback for everyone. We will all get through it and be ready for next year."

Dygert has also been named to the elite women's track team alongside Jennifer Valente, Emma White, Lily Williams, Christina Birch, Kendall Ryan, Megan Jastrab, Maddie Godby, Mandy Marquardt. 

Dygert and Valente secured silver medals as part of the Team Pursuit squad at the 2016 Olympic Games and were part of the World Championship winning team with White and Williams this season.

"It's an expectation [to win]. I don't show up to a race to lose. Going to the Games, I am prepared and ready to face any pressure and anything that is really going on. I want to win and that's my mentality. I'm not going to show up to just podium. That is why I am working has hard as I am to make sure that I accomplish getting gold in all of the events that I show up for."

Tejay van Garderen was named to the elite men's road team along with Ian Garrison, Alex Howes, Lawson Craddock, Brandon McNulty, Neilson Powless and Sepp Kuss. Of those seven, two athletes were automatic nominations, with the remaining athletes nominated as discretionary choices by coaches based on their overall accumulative international results, according to the press release.

The elite men's track team will include Adrian Hegyvary, Daniel Holloway and Gavin Hoover. Only one of them was an automatic nomination, while two were discretionary nominations based on their World Cup and World Championship results. Not making the team was one-time individual pursuit world record holder Ashton Lambie.

Former world champion Kate Courtney will lead the elite women's team for the mountain bike event along with Chloe Woodruff, Lea Davison, Erin Huck, Haley Batten and Hannah Finchamp. All six women were automatically named to the team, however, Courtney is the only candidate for mountain bike with an automatic place on the final team due to her fifth place at the 2019 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. 

The women are sitting second as a nation in the Olympic Qualification Rankings. If they keep this ranking in 2021, two additional members of the women’s long team will join Courtney in Tokyo, according to the press release.

"Representing my country is always a complete honour for me, but the Olympic Games are the pinnacle of the sport and for me it's been a lifelong dream to end up there and to qualify for the team," Courtney said.

"I may have to wait a year longer but I'm thrilled and really looking forward to competing for the USA in Tokyo."

Chris Blevins and Keegan Swenson were selected to the men's mountain bike long team, however, they are two discretionary nominations. With the men’s current nation ranking, they will only have one member named to the final Olympic Team.