How United are those stars and stripes on the women’s team at the World Championships? That is one of the questions that could define how well the home nation races this weekend.
They start with undoubtedly one of the strongest teams on paper, with Megan Guarnier, Evelyn Stevens, and Shelley Olds all pushing for a leadership spot. Yet, at this moment in time, it appears that the even the riders themselves don’t know the pecking order within their ranks.
Coryn Rivera is in the team and riding her first Worlds at the elite level. Before a training ride on the Richmond circuit the young rider – free of expectations and captaincy pressure – stressed that the collective was more important than any individual aspect and that the team must ride as a cohesive unit come Saturday. She also made clear that she would follow instructions from the team management to the letter.
“Whatever the team needs me to do,” she said when Cyclingnews asked her what her role was for the race. “I’m known a bit more as a sprinter but I can go in a break well, and I’ve proven myself as a rider, but whatever it takes to get an American across the line first it doesn’t really matter.
“We need to come together as a team and execute. Anything can happen, but as long as we get the job done it will be amazing. I rode the test event, the collegiate nationals, so I’ve raced on the course and have some experience with it. I don’t think anyone else has that in the same way.”
One rider on the team who has a genuine claim for leadership is Olds, who has found form in recent weeks and is arguably the squad’s best sprinter over the longer distance at Worlds. She has led the team before and of course almost came away with a medal at the Olympic Games in 2012. She recently won the La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta.
“My form is good and I’ve been preparing all year for this race. I had a break earlier in the season with my broken rib and I’ve been able to build up for Worlds, so I think I’ve found my form at the right time,” Olds told Cyclingnews.
“Winning is Spain was a big confidence booster. It’s not the same type of race at all but it was a good competition.”
As for the team hierarchy, she added: “We do have a strong team and we’ve not discussed the details yet but I’m sure that we’ll come together on race day and race well.”
“I think that I’m one of the better options in the team to win or podium so I think I’ve proven over the years that I can be there in the final and that the team should support me. For me there should be two leaders.”