U.S. Olympic cycling roster finalized with road, indoor, BMX, mountain teams

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USA Cycling announced the final members of its Tokyo Olympic team on Thursday, setting a roster of 27 that could earn medals in all four disciplines at one Games for the first time.

Rio Olympic BMX race champion Connor FieldsChloé Dygert, a world champion on the road and the track, and 2018 World mountain bike champion Kate Courtney all previously qualified based on results in international competitions.

Dygert, coming back from leg surgery after crashing over a guard rail in the 2020 World Road Cycling Championships time trial, is set to become the first U.S. cyclist to compete in multiple disciplines at an Olympics since Jeanne Golay in 1996.

In the new BMX freestyle event, 19-year-old Hannah Roberts won her third world title on Monday. Perris Benegas, the 2018 World champion, Justin Dowell, the 2018 World men’s champion, and Nick Bruce, the 2019 World bronze medalist, also qualified before Thursday’s announcement based on international results.

The new team members announced Thursday included discretionary selections on the road and the track.

Amber Neben, 46, is set to shatter the record for oldest U.S. Olympic cyclist by three years, according to Olympedia.org. The only older Olympic cyclist from any nation was French legend Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli, who finished fourth in the road time trial in 2008 at age 49.

Neben, an Olympian in 2008 and 2012, lost an arbitration case in an appeal to be named to the Rio Olympic team after not being chosen.

Neben won the world time trial title in 2008 and in 2016, two months after the Rio Games. She finished fourth at worlds in 2019 and sixth in 2020.

Top U.S. male road cyclists at recent Tours de France, Sepp Kuss and Tejay van Garderen, are not on the team. Kuss announced last month he would skip the Tokyo Games. Van Garderen also withdrew from Rio Olympic consideration due to Zika virus concerns when his wife was pregnant with their second child.

LIST: U.S. athletes qualified for Tokyo Olympics across all sports

The full U.S. Olympic cycling roster:

Road
Brandon McNulty
Lawson Craddock
Chloé Dygert
Amber Neben
Coryn Rivera
Leah Thomas
Ruth Winder

Track
Adrian Hegyvary
Gavin Hoover
Chloé Dygert
Maddie Godby
Megan Jastrab
Jennifer Valente
Emma White
Lily Williams

Mountain
Christopher Blevins
Haley Batten
Kate Courtney
Chloe Woodruff

BMX
Nick Bruce
Justin Dowell
Connor Fields
Corben Sharrah
Perris Benegas
Payton Ridenour
Hannah Roberts
Felicia Stancil
Alise Willoughby

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Valencia Marathon produces historic times in men’s, women’s races

2022 Valencia Marathon
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Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum and Ethiopian Amane Beriso won the Valencia Marathon and became the third-fastest man and woman in history, respectively.

Kiptum, a 23-year-old in his marathon debut, won the men’s race in 2 hours, 1 minute, 53 seconds. The only men to ever run faster over 26.2 miles are legends: Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 world record, plus a 2:01:39) and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41).

Kipchoge made his marathon debut at age 28, and Bekele at 31.

Beriso, a 31-year-old whose personal best was 2:20:48 from January 2016, stunned the women’s field Sunday by running 2:14:58. The only women to have run faster: Kenyans Brigid Kosgei (2:14:04) and Ruth Chepngetich (2:14:18).

Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey finished second in 2:16:49, the fastest-ever time for a woman in her marathon debut. Gidey is the world record holder at 5000m and 10,000m.

Valencia is arguably the top annual marathon outside of the six World Marathon Majors. The next major marathon is Tokyo on March 5.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

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Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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