June 20/07 10:09 am - USA Cycling Announces Pan Am Games Team
Posted by Editor on 06/20/07
USA Cycling Announces Pan Am Games Team - CCA Responds to C1 Status for MTB
We had published last week a preliminary and unofficial list of Canadian athletes who will be attending the Pan Am Games (repeated below). The list did not contain any top mountain bikers because the event did not carry any UCI points ... or so we thought. USA Cycling then released its list of athletes for the Games, and stated that the mountain bike competition was a UCI event (C1), carrying ranking points. When we brought it to the attention of the CCA that there were UCI points available for mountain bike at the Games, we received an explanation from Kris Westwood, Director High Performance Programs. Below is the USA Cycling team release, followed by the CCA response and the unofficial Canadian Games team.
Courtesy USA Cycling
USA Cycling announces its nominees to the 2007 United States Pan American Games Team. Ten athletes have accepted their nominations and are expected to represent the United States in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29.
The United States will compete in all Olympic disciplines of cycling - road, track, mountain bike and BMX - with a mixture of accomplished veterans and young talent.
In the mountain bike competition, Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./GT Hyundai) and Adam Craig (Bend, Ore./Giant) will represent the men's squad, while defending Pan Am Games silver medalist Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass./Kenda-Seven) will be the sole women's athlete.
Ranked 14th and 20th respectively, Wells and Craig are the two highest-ranked Americans in the world and will look to secure additional international ranking points for the United States at the UCI-sanctioned Category-1 event. The United States is currently ranked fifth in the world in men's mountain biking behind France, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium. A country's international ranking is the primary factor in determining the number of start positions it receives at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing next summer.
For Wells and Craig, the 2007 Pan American Games will be their first.
Ranked sixth in the world, McConneloug's participation in her second Pan Am Games will help the U.S. women retain its position near the top of the international rankings. Currently, the U.S. is ranked second to China.
With no international ranking implications for other disciplines, the U.S. will be sending a small road and track contingent that consists of Kim Geist (Emmaus, Pa./Team Lipton), Ben Barczewski (Allentown, Pa.) and Andy Lakatosh (Trexlertown, Pa.).
With only one women's road spot qualified for the United States, Geist, 19, will compete in the time trial event. The 21-time USA Cycling Junior National Champion and two-time junior track world championship medalist will be making her Pan Am Games debut in 2007.
On the track, the U.S. qualified two men's sprint slots that will be filled by Barczewski and Lakatosh, both of whom will compete in the match sprint and keirin events.
In the newest addition to the Pan Am Games program, four athletes will represent the U.S. in BMX - Brandon Meadows (Sacramento, Calif.), Jason Richardson (Carlsbad, Calif.), Krystal Hime (San Antonio, Texas) and Rachel Smith (Gahanna, Ohio).
The recent winner of the inaugural USA Cycling BMX National Championships on June 9, Hime is one of the top Olympic hopefuls for the United States and is currently the top-ranked American in the world in ninth. Smith is ranked 13th in the world and is one of the three women's BMX athletes that has the United States ranked third in the world.
On the men's side, Richardson's resume boasts a pair of fourth-place finishes at UCI World Championships in 2001 and 2003. Meadows is currently ranked sixth in USA Cycling's BMX Rankings and is a two-time X Games gold medalist.
All nominees are subject to approval by the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors.
Kim Geist (Emmaus, Pa.)
Ben Barczewski (Allentown, Pa.)
Andy Lakatosh (Trexlertown, Pa.)
Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.)
Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.)
Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass.)
Brandon Meadows (Sacramento, Calif.)
Jason Richardson (Carlsbad, Calif.)
Krystal Hime (San Antonio, Texas)
Rachel Smith (Gahanna, Ohio)
CCA Response (Kris Westwood)
This came as a surprise as COPACI (Pan Am Games Association) had stated at last year's Pan Am congress that no UCI points would be awarded at the Games.
I checked with Peter van den Abeele at the UCI, and they used a completely different rationale to award points to Pan Am Games in mountain bike versus NOT awarding points to road and track.
The intent here is to give another points scoring opportunity to South American nations, as they have very few mountain bike events on the international calendar.
The argument for not giving points to road and track is that the Games have very limited participation through a restrictive qualification process, and there is also a Pan Am championship on the calendar so points couldn't be given to both events.
In the end, the former arguments won over the latter in mountain bike, and the opposite was the case in road and track.
This will not affect Canada in any way. Pan Am Games are on the calendar as a C1 event, an athlete can count a maximum of five C1 events to his or her points total, and our athletes have access to a ton of C1 events. Bromont, Tremblant, Hardwood and Canmore are all C1s, as are Sea Otter, Fontana, Park City and Banner Elk on the US calendar. Sending our top athletes to Pan Ams - even if it fit in their calendar - would be unlikely to increase our points total.
I would point out that Catharine Pendrel is now the third Canadian on the UCI rankings, so she will potentially contribute to our points total, though we don't have much to worry about on the women's side with all the points Marie-Hélène is earning.
Unofficial Canadian Games Team
Men's Road Race
Madison: Ryan McKenzie & Keven Lacombe
Individual Pursuit: Ryan McKenzie
Points: Eric Smith
Sprint: Cam Evans
No Canadian women on the track as none qualified
Women's Road Race