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Monday, January 26, 2009

US revamps track program

USA Cycling revamps track program

By Steve Frothingham
Posted Oct. 31, 2008

USA Cycling is launching a revamped track program intended to get young trackies more international experience early in their careers.

In recent years, USAC has sent national teams to four track World Cups each season. Under the new program, the team will send some riders to all the UCI Track Calendar events, as appropriate, including European Grand Prix races and 6-day races.

USA Cycling also will launch several domestic track training camps.

"USA Cycling aims to identify and develop a deeper pool of track racing talent by providing increased exposure to world-class competition at various non-traditional events," according to a statement released by the group Friday.

"We've already built a successful model for athlete development," said Pat McDonough, USAC's Director of Athletics. "Now it's just a matter of specifically applying it to track riders. We've shown in other disciplines that consistent exposure to international competition is the most effective way to develop world-class athletes, so we needed to expand upon that idea for our track athletes. In the past, sending a team to four World Cups a year didn't provide our athletes with the amount of high-level racing necessary to improve. We expect this new endeavor to address that."

The initial emphasis will be on men's and women's endurance races, followed by a long-term sprint program scheduled to be begun in 2010. The programs will use the infrastructure and resources already established by USA Cycling for its U-23 National Team in Izegem, Belgium, and its women's National Team in Lucca, Italy.

For the 2008-09 season, the United States has six UCI-registered track trade teams with a total of 18 athletes. The American trade teams include Hawk Relay Cycling, Ouch Pro Cycling, Proman Racing Team, Rock Racing, South Bay Wheelmen and Verducci Breakaway Racing.
USA Cycling will not send a national team to the season's first three World Cup events in Manchester, England; Melbourne, Australia; and Cali, Colombia. However a national team comprised of development athletes will represent the United States at round four in Beijing and the fifth and final World Cup in Copenhagen.

The Manchester World Cup, which starts Friday, will feature two U.S. riders — Shelly Olds (Proman) and Becky Quinn (South Bay Wheelmen).

"Because of the support of several track trade teams, many of our top athletes will continue to compete at World Cup races," said McDonough. "The alliance we've created allows us to better invest our resources by redirecting them into the development of the next generation."

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