USA Cycling announced their team of riders for the shortened UCI Road World Championships, scheduled to take place from September 24-27 in Imola and the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy. While the women's team is as expected, led by defending time trial world champion Chloe Dygert, there were some notable names missing out on the men's side.
Dygert will defend in the individual time trial, representing the US along with Amber Neben (Cogeas-Mettler) and Strade Bianche podium finisher Leah Thomas (Equipe Paule Ka).
The trio will be joined in the elite women's road race by Coryn Rivera (Sunweb), Ruth Winder and Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo), and Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank). The only notable absence from the list is Katie Hall (Boels Dolmans) who hasn't raced since February.
The men's team offered up even more surprises, with Lawson Craddock (EF Pro Cycling) named for the individual time trial along with Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) with riders like Chad Haga (Sunweb) - winner of the final time trial in the 2019 Giro d'Italia and Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team) - a two-time national champion and runner-up in the 2018 Vuelta a España time trial - missing out.
Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) and Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling) will join Craddock and McNulty for the men's road race fresh from the Tour de France, but Brent Bookwalter (Mitchelton-Scott) who placed 7th in Strade Bianche missed the selection, as did 2019 road and time trial national champions Alex Howes (EF Pro Cycling) and Ian Garrison (Deceuninck-Quickstep).
USA Cycling qualified only four spots for the men's road race with riders racing the individual time trial automatically part of the team for the road race.
Jim Miller, USA Cycling's Chief of Sports Performance who returned to the federation after several years away, called the team "highly focused" and expects them to be competitive.
"This has been the year of resiliency and adaptability for the team. Everyone has had good days and bad days, been motivated and unmotivated. Despite the challenges we have all faced, I believe we have a highly focused team, and we expect to have a team capable of competing with the best in the world," Miller said.
The teams, especially the women's, were chosen without the normal calendar of racing because of the coronavirus pandemic. Craddock raced only 12 days this year, with Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo his only events since racing resumed. McNulty has Tour de Pologne and Tour du Limousin under his belt and both are due to race Tirreno-Adriatico before Worlds.
Dygert has not raced since the Track World Championships in the spring and Neben's last race was last year's Road Worlds. The elite women have only had a handful of one-day races since the race stoppage but Jeff Pierce, USA Cycling's Director of Elite Athletics for Road and Track is confident in the selections.
"With limited racing this year, we have still seen many stand-out results. After last year's World Championship performances, along with the recent success from our riders, we're in a good position for medal finishes," Pierce said.
USA Cycling revised its selection criteria in light of the pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games, and placed an emphasis on "selections that increase or protect Tokyo medal probability" or "strong probability of producing a World Championship medal" or are critical for supporting the team goals or are "in alignment with USAC organizational goals", according to the published selection criteria.
Because the UCI cancelled the junior and U23 category races, Megan Jastrab (Rally Cycling) and Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) will maintain their titles through next year's championships despite ageing out of the junior ranks by 2021.
USA Cycling for the UCI Road World Championships
Chloe Dygert (Twenty20), Amber Neben (Cogeas–Mettler Cycling Team), Leah Thomas (Équipe Paule Ka)
Lawson Craddock (EF Pro Cycling) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates)
Chloe Dygert (Twenty20), Amber Neben (Cogeas–Mettler Cycling Team), Leah Thomas (Équipe Paule Ka), Coryn Rivera (Sunweb), Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), Ruth Winder and Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafredo).
Lawson Craddock and Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling) and Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma)
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