Amber Neben, a former two-time world champion in the time trial, and Lauren Stephens topped the podium Friday in the individual time trial at the 2018 Pan American Road Cycling Championships in San Juan, Argentina. Neben won gold with a time of 25:30 on the 19km course, and Stephens finished in 25:53 for silver.
Neben's victory gives her an automatic spot on the team to be selected for the time trial at the World Championships in Austria, along with an additional spot for the US team in the event.
"The race went exceedingly well today," said Jack Seehafer, USA Cycling Women's Endurance Program Manager, in a press release. "Both riders knew the high importance of the race and were focused on taking home the win. I am extremely proud of their results and the fact we have added another start position for the TT at Worlds."
Neben and Stephens, both members of the USA Cycling National Team, challenged the course among a field of 21 total riders representing 13 countries. Colombia’s Ana Sanabria finished third at 26:24. It marked Neben’s third ITT win at the Pan American Championships, which includes victories in 2012 and 2006.
With her win, Neben qualified to race at the World Championships this September held in Innsbruck-Tirol. Her continental title also adds another starter to the team quota for the World Championships, increasing US rider individual time trial entries to three.
"Amber's win is significant as it earns her a direct entry to World Championships while increasing our team quota, giving additional talented American women a shot at the World Championship podium,” said Scott Schnitzspahn, USA Cycling Vice President of Elite Athletics, in a press release. "We are extremely proud of both Amber and Lauren's achievements today."
The Pan American Championships are held annually for member nations of the Pan American Cycling Confederation, and 2018 marked the third time the event has been held in Argentina. Riders who competed in the Pan American Cycling Championships were selected by their respective national governing bodies, and the race provides another avenue for athletes to qualify for World Championships.