USA Cycling announced today its qualification procedure for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The 2011 UCI Track World Cup events and the World Championships in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, are the first cycling events being used to qualify riders for the Olympic long team, which will be announced December 15, 2011.
The US can qualify up to seven women and nine men for the 2012 Olympic Games track program, which includes the omnium, team pursuit, team sprint, match sprint and keirin for both genders.
To be considered for nomination to the long team, riders must place in the top three of the omnium, top eight in the match sprint or top six in the keirin, or be part of a team which meets a time standard in the team pursuit or team sprint at the world championships.
For women, the team pursuit standard is 3:21.575, while for men it is 4:05.334. In the team sprint, the times are 34.182 for women or 44.651 for men.
The same standards apply to the 2011 World Cup races (Beijing, Manchester and any 2011-2012 World Cup held before the end of the year), except riders just be top four in the sprint or top three in the keirin.
For the Pan American Championships, held in Medellin, Colombia in May, riders must win the omnium, sprint or keirin, or be part of a gold or silver medal winning team and meet the above time standards in order to be considered for the Olympic long team.
The women's team pursuit time standard will be difficult to obtain at the sea level Manchester World Cup or World Championships. No women's pursuit team has broken the mark in the World Cups this season. Sarah Hammer, Lauren Tamayo and Dotsie Bausch recorded a 3:23.917 in the qualifying round at the UCI World Cup in Cali, Colombia in December. The trio's world record 3:19.569 was set at altitude.
The world record for the men's team pursuit, 3:53.314 set by Great Britain in Beijing in 2008 has not been approached so far this season. Only Australia have broken the four minute barrier in the World Cup this season.
While no US team has come close to the time standards in the sprint events, and no US sprinter has made the final eight or keirin final at a World Cup so far this season, the procedure allows for discretionary picks based upon past performances, medal capable performances or future medal capability.
The US must qualify spots for the 2012 Olympic Games through its performances in the UCI calendar toward the maximum. USA Cycling's printed procedures detail how the selection process will be prioritized should more riders meet the standards than there are spaces qualified for the Olympic team.
The selection for the final Olympic track cycling team will take place between January 1, 2012 and April 8, 2012, with the riders being announced on June 15, 2012.