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U.S. announces Richmond world championship rosters

The American contingent for Richmond worlds is highlighted by Taylor Phinney, Kristin Armstrong, and Logan Owen.

When 34 Americans line up in Richmond, Virginia in three weeks time, they’ll be the first from their country to race the world championships on home soil since 1986.

Ahead of the chosen few lies a road race course that is equal parts Belgian classic and archetypal American criterium, with a snaking, cobbled climb and a plethora of 90-degree corners, and a flat, fast time trial course with a nasty sting in its tail. In the road race, a sprinter is likely to prevail, but it will be one that can survive a long, hard day in the saddle. In the time trial, as always, the strongest will win.

Each U.S. squad, from the elite women to the junior men, has a medal contender in its ranks — if not more than one.

It’s a year of returns. Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) is back fighting for the rainbow bands following a successful return to pro racing at the Tour of Utah USA Pro Challenge. He’ll race the time trial and the road race, where he’ll share leadership with Tyler Farrar. Kristin Armstrong is back, too. The Olympic gold medalist can’t seem to stay away, and remains one of the host country’s best hopes for a another set of rainbow bands.

The courses are set. The teams are selected. All that’s left to do is race.

Men’s road race

Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing)
Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka)
Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin)
Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin)
Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing)
(Final spot to be named by September 11)

Tyler Farrar and Phinney are the obvious dual-captains of a slim six-man squad. Both excel on courses like the one found in Richmond. Phinney’s teammate, Brent Bookwalter, and the Cannondale-Garmin duo of Alex Howes and Ben King round out the group. Each are capable of riding well in a breakaway or laying themselves on the line for the team’s better sprinters.

“We have an attacking team, an opportunities team, and a fast finishing team, everyone on the list has a good kick toward the end of the race,” Phinney told VeloNews Friday morning. “So, we’ll definitely be looking out, racing as a team, but be looking out for those later moves. If someoody else wants to control, we have Tyler [Farrar] for a big bunch sprint. But we’ll be on the offensive and make the race exciting.”

The final spot will be named by September 11. UnitedHealthcare’s Kiel Reijnen is a likely candidate, if selectors decide they want another sprint arrow in the quiver. If more horsepower is needed, Andrew Talansky or U.S. national champion Matthew Busche could be called upon.

Men’s individual time trial

Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing)
(Final spot to be named by September 11)

Only Phinney has been selected so far. It’s a pick based on potential rather than recent results, as Phinney managed only sixth in his last time trial, a high-altitude contest in Breckenridge during the USA Pro Challenge. Bookwalter was faster there.

Talansky expressed interest in racing the time trial earlier this summer, and is racing the Vuelta a Espana with eye toward worlds. He can ride into the top 10 on a good day, which would help the U.S. bring a bigger squad to the Olympics next year.

Women’s road race

Allie Dragoo (Twenty16-Sho-Air)
Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans)
Shelley Olds (Ale Cipollini)
Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare)
Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB)
Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans)
Tayler Wiles (Velocio-SRAM)

Worlds team selection is never easy, but this year it was surely a nightmare.

The course is well suited to Megan Guarnier, Shelley Olds, and Coryn Rivera, all of whom pack a terrific kick at the end of a long race. The team can’t work for all of them, of course, and selecting one leader will be difficult. All three have won major races in the last month.

The seven selected riders come from six different teams. Only Boels Dolmans is represented twice, by Evelyn Stevens and Guarnier. The team spans multiple generations, too, with more than a decade between its oldest and youngest. But if the seven ride as a unit, they may be the strongest complete team in the race.

Women’s time trial

Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Sho-Air)
Carmen Small (Bigla)
Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans)

A medal sweep in the women’s time trial is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong returns and can never be discounted. Carmen Small earned bronze in 2013, and Stevens earned bronze last year. Both will be disappointed with anything less in Richmond.

U23 men’s road race

Greg Daniel (Axeon)
Daniel Eaton (Axeon)
Colin Joyce (California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized)
Logan Owen (Axeon)
Tyler Williams (BMC Development Team)

Axeon Pro Cycling’s Logan Owen, Greg Daniel, and Daniel Eaton have the advantage of a season of riding and racing together, and are coming off strong rides at the USA Pro Challenge. Owen is the likely leader of the team, particularly after his sprint win at the Tour of Utah. He’ll see strong backup in Colin Joyce, third at road nationals this year, and Tyler Williams, a strong time trialist.

U23 men’s time trial

Greg Daniel (Axeon)
Daniel Eaton (Axeon)

Daniel and Eaton both double up, racing the road race and the time trial. Eaton showed incredible time trial form in Colorado, where he placed fourth against a strong field in the Breckenridge time trial. He even beat Phinney.

Junior men’s road race

Chris Blevins (Specialized)
Jonny Brown (Hot Tubes)
Adrien Costa (California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized)
Jack Maddux (Hot Tubes)
Brandon McNulty (LUX-Specialized)
Ethan Reynolds (Hot Tubes)

Junior men’s time trial

Adrien Costa (Hagens Berman U-23)
Brandon McNulty (LUX-Specialized)

Junior women’s road race

Chloe Dygert (Twenty16 Devo-Sho-Air)
Skylar Schneider (ISCorp Cycling)
Emma White (Hot Tubes)
Ashlyn Woods (Carolina Masters-PainPathways)

Junior women’s time trial

Chloe Dygert (Twenty16 Devo-Sho-Air)
Emma White (Hot Tubes)