USA Cycling today announced its full line-up for the UCI Road World Championships, which begin on September 20 in Richmond, Virginia, with Taylor Phinney named for both Elite men's races. Phinney made his return to competition last month following a 15-month layoff due to injuries, and quickly returned to his winning ways, taking a victory and the race lead on the opening stage of the USA Pro Challenge.
Joining Phinney for the men's road race is his BMC Racing teammate Brent Bookwalter, together with Cannondale-Garmin's Ben King and Alex Howes, and Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka). Phinney will also compete in the individual time trial, with the second rider to be named by September 11, together with the last rider for the road race.
Ben King, winner of a stage in the Criterium International this year, was thrilled to be selected to compete in the world championships in his home state. The maximum number for the Elite men's teams is nine, but the USA narrowly met the requirements to earn six as the host country, and competition for those spots has been strong.
“Riding the Worlds is one of my major goals of the season and the first step was making the selection," King told Cyclingnews from the Vuelta a Espana. "We qualified six spots and obviously the US is a huge country so it’s a real honour to be chosen as one of those to represent our nation."
"In the road-race I’ll probably have a support role, cover some early moves…we haven’t discussed the tactics, but obviously coming from the Vuelta, [where I’ve been] having a similar role here of covering breakaways, protecting GC guys, posiitoning coming into the climbs," King said.
As a resident of Virginia, King has had ample opportunity to familiarise himself with the course, which winds around downtown Richmond, sweeping down through the Shockoe Bottom, along the James River, then up the cobbled Libby Hill climb, the steep ramp up 23rd Street and heading back to the finish via the uphill stretch of Governor Street cresting with 200m to go.
“It’s a technical course. I live an hour away from the course, I train and have family in Richmond. Obviously this is a course in the city, so it’s not necessarily roads you’d go ride on when the roads are open. I think it’s as tough or tougher than the profile indicates, because specially Libby Hill is so narrow and switchback and cobbled it’s going to be single file going up there. The descents are OK but the fact it’s going to be single file going through one of the more selective parts of the course anyway so close to the finish is definitely going to factor in.”
King is no stranger to the one-day races, but this will only be his second World Championships, having made the USA team in 2011. “I raced the Worlds in Copenhagen which was also kind of flat, I ended up working at the front with the Brits, riding the front for Tyler Farrar who placed tenth. But I think it’s more selective than at Copenhagen, the climbs are closer to the finish and there’s more of them.”
Top team for USA women
The USA Elite women earned seven spots for the road race, and will field a powerful squad with US road champion Megan Guarnier leading the way. Guarnier has had a terrific season so far, with wins in the Strade Bianche, a third place in La Flèche Wallonne, stage wins in the Euskal Emakumeen Bira, Giro Donne and Ladies Tour of Norway, and a third place overall in Giro Donne.
Guarnier is joined by her trade teammate Evelyn Stevens, sprinters Coryn Rivera and Shelley Olds, Lauren Stephens, Tayler Wiles and Allie Dragoo. Dual Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong was selected to compete in the individual time trial together with Stevens and Carmen Small.
USA Team for the UCI Road World Championships
Elite Men – Road Race: Taylor Phinney and Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team), Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka), Alex Howes and Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin) - Final spot to be named by Sept. 11.
Elite Men – Individual Time Trial: Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) - Final spot to be named by Sept. 11.
Elite Women – Road Race: Allie Dragoo (TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR), Megan Guarnier and Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans), Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini), Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare), Lauren Stephens (Team TIBCO-SVB), Tayler Wiles (Velocio-SRAM)
Elite Women – Individual Time Trial: Kristin Armstrong (TWENTY16 p/b SHO-AIR), Carmen Small (Bigla Pro Cycling Team), Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans Cycling Team)
U23 Men – Road Race: Greg Daniel (Axeon Cycling Team), Daniel Eaton (Axeon Cycling Team), Colin Joyce (California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized), Logan Owen (Axeon Cycling Team) , Tyler Williams (BMC Development Team)
U23 Men – Individual Time Trial: Greg Daniel (Axeon Cycling Team), Daniel Eaton (Axeon Cycling Team),
Junior Men – Road: Chris Blevins (Team Specialized Racing), Jonny Brown, Ethan Reynolds and Jack Maddux (Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team), Adrien Costa (Hagens Berman U-23), Brandon McNulty (LUX-Specialized by Cynergy)
Junior Men – Individual Time Trial: Adrien Costa (Hagens Berman U-23), Brandon McNulty (LUX-Specialized by Cynergy)
Junior Women – Road Race: Chloe Dygert (TWENTY16 Devo p/b SHO-AIR), Skylar Schneider (ISCorp Cycling p/b SmartChoice MRI), Emma White (Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team), Ashlyn Woods (Carolina Masters-PainPathways Cycling Team),
Junior Women – Individual Time Trial: Chloe Dygert (TWENTY16 Devo p/b SHO-AIR), Emma White (Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team).