Guarnier, King lead Team USA for Innsbruck worlds

In her swansong worlds, Megan Guarnier will challenge climber-friendly course in Austria. King hopes to carry Vuelta form.

USA Cycling named 15 riders to start the elite time trial and road races at the 2018 UCI World Road Championships Monday. The team will be headlined by former Giro Rosa champion Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) and Ben King (Dimension Data), winner of two stages so far in the Vuelta a España.

The women’s and men’s elite time trial races will be September 25 and 26, respectively, in Innsbruck, Austria. The road races will close out the week, with the elite women racing September 29 and the men on the 30th.

After announcing her plan to retire at the end of the season, Guarnier will look to go out on a high note in the mountainous 156.2km road race.

The U.S. team has a few other cards to play in the road race with climbers Ruth Winder (Sunweb) and Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare). Speaking after her win at the Colorado Classic in August, Hall suggested the worlds might not be a pure climber’s course but that it would still be a great opportunity for the Americans.

“I’m really focused on it and focused on being the best I can be for it. We have a lot of good riders for that course. We’ll race it cohesively and it’ll give a lot of different riders chances,” she said.

“It’s not a pure climber’s course we think. I think that with the strength we have in the American team, we have a good chance.”

On the men’s side, there doesn’t look to be a clear leader for the elite road race but a few riders are finding form at the right time of the year, especially on the climbs.

With two Vuelta stage wins to his credit, King will surely be a candidate for a breakaway in Austria.

Sepp Kuss is also primed for a run at the 258.5km race, coming off a commanding win at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah in August and also riding well at the Vuelta in support of LottoNL-Jumbo team leader Steven Kruijswijk.

The time trial might also be fruitful for the Americans. Held in the valley around Innsbruck, it is a relatively flat route in contrast with the road race circuit.

Two-time world champion Amber Neben (PX4 Sports) leads the women’s TT selection. On the men’s side, BMC teammates Joey Rosskopf and Tejay van Garderen will wear red, white, and blue. Van Garderen recently won the prologue at Tour of Utah while Rosskopf, the national time trial champion, is currently racing at the Vuelta.

Elite time trial

Amber Neben (PX4 Sports)
Tayler Wiles (Trek Drops)
Leah Thomas (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)

Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team)
Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team)

Elite road race

Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb)
Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM)
Katharine Hall (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)
Tayler Wiles (Trek Drops)
Ruth Winder (Team Sunweb)
Leah Thomas (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling)

Ben King (Team Dimension Data)
Sepp Kuss (Team LottoNL-Jumbo)
Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team)
Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo)

Alternate: Nate Brown (EF Education First-Drapac)