US Olympic Cycling Team 2012: Updated News, Roster and Analysis
A sleeping contender is what you can consider the U.S. Olympic Cycling team for the 2012 London Games.
During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the United States finished third overall in cycling medals but totaled just five with one gold. No. 1 overall was Great Britain with 14, including eight golds.
Therefore, it's safe to say that the Americans have their work cut out at these Summer Games. Fortunately, road warrior Kristin Armstrong returns to defend her gold from Beijing, and the rest of Team USA has much promise.
That said, let's take a look and break down the U.S. cycling squad for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
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United States Cycling Roster courtesy of USACycling.org (pro team in parentheses):
Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda)
Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek)
Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing)
Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing)
Kristin Armstrong (Exergy TWENTY12)
Amber Neben (Specialized-lululemon)
Shelley Olds (AA Drink-Leontien.nl)
Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon)
Dotsie Bausch (OUCH Pro Cycling)
Sarah Hammer (OUCH Pro Cycling)
Bobby Lea (Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA)
Jennie Reed (OUCH Pro Cycling)
Lauren Tamayo (Exergy Twenty12)
Jimmy Watkins (Project London 2012)
David Herman (Free Agent-Rockstar)
Connor Fields (Chase BMX)
Nic Long (Haro Bikes)
Arielle Martin (Intense BMX)
Alise Post (Redline)
Samuel Schultz (Subaru-Trek)
Todd Wells (Specialized Racing)
Lea Davison (Specialized Racing)
Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Kristin Armstrong, Road
The lone gold-medal winner for the United States cyclists at the 2008 Beijing Games, Kristin Summer returns to defend her time trial title and repeat in the Summer Olympics.
In addition, Armstrong is looking to improve on her road race result from 2008, where she finished 25th. No U.S. woman has won a medal in the road race since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and Armstrong is Team USA's best bet for London.
Despite her age of 38, expect another impressive showing from the veteran Olympian.
Connor Fields, BMX
At only 20 years old, Connor Fields won the U.S. Olympic BMX Trials and is at the forefront of the USA's next wave of premier cyclists.
He enters the London Games with much momentum and confidence as well, because the youngster is ranked No. 2 in the world and won the UCI World Championships BMX time trial in 2012. Already ahead of David Herman, Fields has proven the potential to become the face of BMX racing.
And that opportunity will present itself on the grandest of stages in the Olympics.
Sarah Hammer, Track
Taking fifth overall at the 2008 Summer Games in the women's individual pursuit, Sarah Hammer has the talent to compete for gold in the women's omnium, as evidenced by her four individual pursuit UCI World Championships titles. Twice, Hammer repeated in the event, and two of the titles have come since Beijing.
In 2012, though, Hammer took bronze at the World Championships in the women's omnium and has the all-around ability to maintain that through London. If anything, she has the motivation to perform well after not finishing the event at the 2008 Summer Games.
Still, with much to prove and everything to gain, watch out for Hammer on the track.
Todd Wells, Mountain
Heading to his third Summer Olympics, Todd Wells has yet to win a medal but has all the experience necessary to be a strong contender.
Looking ahead to the 2012 Games, Wells enters with a fourth-place finish at the 2012 UCI World Cup in New York but didn't fare as well otherwise. The good news is that he'll be a major underdog, which comes with no added pressure.
Provided that he doesn't fall back early and remains even with just the middle pack throughout, a strong finish could occur to make a chase at the Top 10.
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As previously mentioned, the British are the top team to contend with for the most medals in cycling.
Taking 14 in Beijing, Great Britain returns medalists such as Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley (road) and their most dominant racers on the track. Gold medalists like Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton remain, while the legendary Bradley Wiggins is now competing on the road portion.
The interesting part about Britain, though, is that none of them medaled in BMX or Mountain Bike during the 2008 Games. So, provided that the U.S. capitalizes in those areas and continues to improve on the track and road, challenging the hosts for overall medals is possible.
Now, we can reasonably expect Britain to take a few golds of their own in the track team events. However, Team USA has some individual talent to make up from the medal-less performance on the track in Beijing.
It will be closer than the 2008 Olympics, but the U.S. must win medals in their strong events.
Complete view of British Olympic Cycling Team.
More on par with the United States is France.
After Great Britain's all-encompassing dominance in Beijing, the French finished second in overall cycling medals with six—just one up from the U.S.
Julian Absalon returns to defend his Mountain Biking gold, and teammate Jean Jean-Christophe Péraud remains right behind after a silver in 2008. The French women also went gold and silver in 2008 for BMX, but Laëtitia Le Corguillé is the one returning after a silver-medal performance.
Much like the U.S., France's strength is off the track and in the other three areas of cycling. Interestingly enough, however, France didn't medal on the road portion but did take silver on the men's team sprint.
Now, with simply more experience and some 2008 medalists returning, if the British pull away as expected, then second place will once again be between the USA and France.
Complete view of French Olympic Cycling Team.
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
With seemingly more overall talent across the board for 2012, the U.S. cycling team will fare better in London than Beijing.
Connor Fields and David Herman are among the best in the world at BMX and could potentially finish gold and silver, respectively. Georgia Gould has the ability to compete for a medal in Mountain Biking after an eighth-place finish in 2008, whereas Todd Wells has to take his riding to the next level.
The track teams, unfortunately, have been Team USA's Achilles heel in recent Olympics. Not since the 1984 Summer Games have the Americans won a team medal on the track. If they want to compete for first in overall medals, that has to change in 2012.
On the road you can expect another strong showing from Kristin Armstrong, and an individual track medal from Sarah Hammer is quite realistic. All this being said, Team USA doesn't have the overall ammo like Great Britain for the most gold medals, but second place is within reach.
Prediction: Second place overall, seven total medals (two gold, one silver, four bronze)
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