Amber Neben (Irvine, California)
Women’s Road Race, Time Trial
Coverage of Amber Neben from VeloNews.com >>
That Amber Neben spent her high school years competing in soccer, track and cross country is itself something of a miracle. When she was four years old, she spent three days in a coma with spinal meningitis, an ailment that doctors predicted would leave her brain damaged and deaf, if not dead. She survived this and a 2007 skin cancer diagnosis to win the 2008 world time trial championship. Before her skin cancer diagnosis, she was already a two-time winner (2005 and 2006) of the prestigious Tour de l’Aude in France, and the 2003 elite national road champion.
Neben struggled with stress fractures throughout high school. Despite this, she competed for the University of Nebraska on a track and field scholarship, but that, too, was cut short by stress fractures. She resumed her athletic career at the University of California in Irvine while studying for her Ph.D in molecular biology. A top-10 finish in the collegiate national championships convinced her to pursue a career in cycling and Neben made her professional road debut in 2002 with the T-Mobile women’s team.
After Neben left her Dutch team of four years, Flexpoint, a financial meltdown at Equipe Nurnberger put her career in danger in 2009. She came back to the States with a composite team, however, and then the now-defunct Webcor squad. After a year in the U.S., Neben moved to High Road and made the move to Specialized-lululemon after the team’s demise last year. Her career took off again in 2011 and Neben won a pair of team time trials with High Road and the post-worlds Chrono des Herbiers. Neben won the national time trial championship in June.