USAC – What World Championships?

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I was reading an article at Cyclingnews.com about how Belgium is on the bubble when it comes to fielding a full squad at the World Road Championships.

In the article, my friend, Carlos Bomans, who is the national team coach, is saying that San Sebastian and the Tour of Poland are very important races to keep Belgium in 10th in UCI rankings. The first 10 countries field a full 9 rider roster, and the next only 6.

Belgium has had pretty good results recently in the World Championships, with Philippe Gilbert winning last year.

I think it is funny that you don’t hear anything about this in the US. Because the thing is that the United States is the country in 11th place, only 18 points behind Belgium. I’ve always thought it was strange how little emphasis that USAC, plus the American Pro riders, put on the World Championships.

It all started with Lance. He won the race and then pretty much quit participating. I think the reason that the Worlds was always skipped by the “best” US professionals the last decade or so, is because of the doping regiment and the timing of the race. I’m not exactly sure how it works, doping that is, but I know by watching, that the riders disappeared off the face of the map for over a month at a time, and then seemed to come back at a different level. That is kind of hard to do at the end of the year, after the Tour.

I think it is a shame that the US doesn’t field the best team possible for the World Championships. I know it is a money deal for the USAC. I rode the World Road Championships twice, once as an amateur and once as a professional. Neither of these times did USAC pay for my ticket to Europe. I’m sure it’s a struggle for them now to do that. 1/2 the office and the board of USAC used to show up at the event. I doubt that has changed either.

It is even worse on the track. Do we even send a team to the World Track Championships? Do we even has a US track program? If we do, it’s can’t be very good.

What is sad, is that is by chance, the US happened to find itself in the top ten of countries, it would have a hard time coming up with 9 good riders that would commit to the race. For some strange reason, American riders seem to have no interest in the World Road Championships. I wonder why?

Anyway, the World Championships is the most important one day race of the year, most years. I’d say winning the Olympics is probably more prestigious now, but in cycling circles, the rainbow stripes continues to be the ultimate prize. USAC and the professional riders need to start putting a bigger priority on the event. It deserves respect.

I first met Carlos Bomans at the Tour of Chili back in the 80's.  He is a super friendly guy.  When I started racing more in Europe and hanging in Belgium, Carlos was riding for Mapei and used to help me out during the races, mainly by telling me when the cobbles were coming up. Here I'm winning a stage and Carlos is the guy in the Belgian jersey finishing 2nd.

I first met Carlos Bomans at the Tour of Chili back in the 80’s. He is a super friendly guy. When I started racing more in Europe and hanging in Belgium, Carlos was riding for Mapei and used to help me out during the races, mainly by telling me when the cobbles were coming up.
Here I’m winning a stage and Carlos is the guy in the Belgian jersey finishing 2nd.

7 thoughts on “USAC – What World Championships?

  1. channel_zero

    Steve,

    Thom’s not interested in developing a one-day rider or squad. Neither generates revenue (for him, not the federation) or viewers like an American Tour de France winner. This article over at VN makes it clear executive management is focused on making another Armstrong. Yes, that has multiple meanings, all of which are true. http://velonews.competitor.com/2013/07/analysis/usa-cyclings-steve-johnson-looks-to-a-future-without-armstrong_296898

    Certainly in mountain biking nearly all domestic “pros” (AKA the bro-deal sponsorship ) can’t afford the trip because they are paying to race, as pros, anyway. Kind of violates the principal of being a “pro” category rider. Track must be many times worse.

    That is not saying everyone at USAC is bad or doing a bad job. But, executive management at USACDF have one goal that has nothing to do with developing broad talent. I know the brochure says that, but it’s obvious by their decades of neglect that is PR talk.

     
  2. Fabio Cardoso

    Great point of view Steve. I would resume this way: “They show up where the money is at”

     
  3. Thad W

    I agree, watching the 89 Worlds with LeMond winning was the race that hooked me into racing. I thought it was epic at the time. National Jerseys with their team shorts on was cool. Then to have the Rainbow jersey the next year was a big deal, so I thought. Now the race seems no more a bigger deal than a spring classic and then all you hear about is the “curse” of the rainbow jersey.

     
  4. mike crum

    worlds, in my opinion, is the biggest most important 1 day race of the year..

    on another note, eric zable admitted that he cheated and took drugs from 1998-2003. i think those are they years.. another fuckin cheat.. but we all knew this anyway, as the whole peloton has been on different drugs since the 60’s.. wish stewy would have the balls to say he cheated his whole career. not just 1998. who is he trying to kid??

     
  5. JH Higgins

    I remember when Overend was considered “too old” by the US to be considered for the Road World Championships Amateur team in Colorado Springs in ’86 (The last time it was held on US soil). Because the world Championships actually meant something back in the ’80s to US riders, Overend really wanted to race in it badly. In order to make the team, he had to place in the top 3 at the Munsingwear Classic in Crested Butte, a race that a quite a few Euro riders were using as a tune-up for the World Championships. Overend ended up placing well enough to secure his spot on the amateur team but didn’t do so well at the World Championships due to the weather and the course not being the best suited for his climbing skills. But to actually make the team was a longshot at best because of his mountain biking background – not a lot of believers out there at the time. It’s not like he was a seasoned stage racer on the road either. But in the end, he held his own against the likes of Laurent Fignon and Alexi Grewal placing well enough in order to petition for his spot on the US team.

     
  6. Nancy

    I think the Worlds are less important because of the Pro team vs country team. It is weird to see some riders riding together while they are rivals for 99 % of the season.

     
  7. Michael Cloidt

    Just read the Velo article as I spent the weekend in Trexlertown watching the Junior Track Nats. If the federation wants an idea on what to do, come support the juniors, these are the future world and Olympic champions. Last year for the 16-18 yr olds if your time was close to world standard they would support you to go to New Zealand, don’t think anyone was close enough. Grass roots to go; your parents, club, community raised the money for the trip if the fed picked you for the team. Rumor this year was no support no matter how fast your time. Don’t know if the rumor was true or not but probably was. The kids go and race against teams that are groomed by the Aussie or Brit system and have been training together for years vs. the two weeks that our team has to prepare for Scotland. How much is the salary for those top execs? Support track, support cross, support the juniors!

     

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