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Three new additions to USA team for Road World Championships

Scott Mcgill of The United States competes during the 73rd UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships Fayetteville 2022
Scott McGill is one of the newly announced team members for the 2022 World Championships (Image credit: Getty Images)

USA Cycling has made three new additions to its elite selections set to compete at the UCI Road World Championships held from September 18-25 in Wollongong, Australia. The national federation confirmed to Cyclingnews that Keegan Swenson and Scott McGill would join the elite men's team, and Heidi Franz has been named to the elite women's team.

USA Cycling announced an initial roster of 24 riders representing the United States at the Wollongong Worlds last month. However, according to a representative from the federation, there have been changes to the original selection due to securing last-minute travel visas, a spike in travel costs, the points chase in the ongoing WorldTour relegation battle, and riders citing fatigue after a busy racing season.

"On Monday, the roster gets posted to the UCI. Once that is posted, no one else can be added, but it still isn't a guarantee that all those people make it to the starting line," USA Cycling told Cyclingnews, noting that they are doing their best to send the strongest team to compete at Wollongong Worlds.

The initial selection for the elite women's team included Krista Doebel-Hickok, Emma Langley and Veronica Ewers (both EF Education-TIBCO-SVB), Kristen Faulkner (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), Leah Thomas (Trek-Segafredo), Skylar Schneider (L39ion of Los Angeles), and Coryn Labecki (Team Jumbo-Visma).

Notably absent from the initial roster was Megan Jastrab (Team DSM), who would have been a contender for the new under-23 women's title available as part of a combined under-23/elite women's road race.

"As far as the U23 Women's race, the race is within the Elite Women's race, therefore, the U23 rider(s) has to be selected and qualify based on the Elite Women's Selection Criteria. Megan Jastrab was our best rider to take on the U23 role, but she ultimately decided that the course would not suit her," USA Cycling told Cyclingnews.

Labecki announced that she had been forced out of the Wollongong Worlds after she sustained a broken collarbone and rib following a crash at Simac Ladies Tour. USA Cycling told Cyclingnews that Labecki's replacement on the elite women's Worlds team would be announced along with the sixth member of the elite men's team.

"Coryn has been a leader in American bike racing and the professional peloton for years. It has been a tough season for Coryn. Ending it with a broken collarbone and missing out on her eighth World Championships is extremely unfortunate," a representative of USA Cycling told Cyclingnews.

"We fully support her decision to focus on her recovery. With her strength and dedication, we know Coryn will be back stronger in 2023. In her absence, we will bring an additional rider to round out the team and support Team USA's success in Wollongong."

In addition, Doebel-Hickok crashed while racing stage 2 Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta and suffered a broken collarbone. She also announced on social media that her injury is season-ending and that she will not participate at the Worlds.

USA Cycling has now named Franz to the elite women's roster. She has spent three years racing for Rally Cycling and currently competes with InstaFund Racing.

"Heidi is a rider that has come out of USA Cycling's new Cynisca program. Cynisca has helped USA Cycling bring more women over to Europe this year to gain crucial racing experience in the European peloton. As one of the top domestic racers, Heidi was the obvious choice to be included in the program, along with Skylar Schneider, and now the two of them have made their way onto the Road Worlds team," USA Cycling told Cyclingnews.

The elite women's team has a medal contender in Faulkner, who won a stage and finished second overall at the Tour de Suisse, and won two stages at the Giro d'Italia Donne. However, she is currently racing at the Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta and cited fatigue ahead of the fourth stage.

USA Cycling's road director, Mike Sayers, noted Faulkner's remarkable achievements but was careful not to place the nation's weight on her shoulders. He told Cyclingnews that he believes the US has several riders capable of achieving solid performances at the Wollongong Worlds.

"We have an awesome culture in the team, and all the riders are capable of being leaders or riding in support. Medals are always our main goal," Sayers said.

"Kristen's progress has been nothing less than spectacular. For those who know her, they know she was built for success at every level. She has a dedication to her endeavours that is world class and that transcends cycling. With that said, she is not the first American woman to show these traits. She is just carrying the torch of those that came before her. I am still left in awe of her abilities at times. Every year she gains knowledge and experience. She is capable of winning or contributing to her teammates winning each and every week."

'There's still a little bit of hope' Craddock denied visa to Australia

USA Cycling had also announced the men's roster on August 23 with a team that included Lawson Craddock (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Kyle Murphy (Human Powered Health), Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost), and Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers), noting that it would announce the sixth rider at a later date.

Lawson Craddock, currently competing at the Vuelta a España, told SBS Sport (opens in new tab)that he was denied a visa to Australia but that he is still exploring other options that will allow him to compete at the Worlds.

"It's been a big stressor. I applied about a month ago for a visa, and yesterday, I just got denied. We are still working on exploring all of our options, and there is still a little bit of hope," Craddock said.

"My flight to Australia is on Monday, so it's definitely coming down to the wire, but I'm hopeful I'll be there in Australia.

"I would love to sit here and focus 100% on the Vuelta over the last couple of weeks, but the amount of time I've spent on the phone with the immigration office on these transfers on the bus, trying to work out what's going on ... it's definitely been a big stressor. Fortunately, once I'm on the bike, I'm able to hammer it out. Maybe it has provided a bit more motivation to go harder."

Neilson Powless, who took fifth place at the Flanders Worlds last season, was also due to lead the US team in the elite men's road race, however, he revealed to Cyclingnews that he might skip the race and focus instead on the late-season races in Europe before closing out the year at the Japan Cup.

The federation has confirmed Keegan Swenson has been added to the roster along with Scott McGill. 

Swenson is the US national cross-country mountain bike champion and is currently leading the gravel LifeTime Grand Prix series. McGill currently races with Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling and recently won two stages and secured three other podium finishes on stages at the Volta a Portugal em Bicicleta.

"Scott has been a standout young rider this year, recently winning a stage at Volta Portugal and placing 2nd in two additional stages, which earned him a spot as the lead rider for the USA Cycling National Team at the Maryland Classic," USA Cycling said.

USA Cycling expects there to be more changes to the roster but will announce confirmed selections on Monday. "There will be a few more additions, but we are still confirming those [three] riders."

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