By Paul D. Bowker | Sept. 25, 2015, 12:01 a.m. (ET)
Evelyn Stevens races in the women's individual time trial at the UCI Road World Championships on Sept. 22, 2015 in Richmond, Va.


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The road toward the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games is going through the roads of Richmond, Virginia, this week.

Two-time Olympian Taylor Phinney will be among six U.S. athletes in the elite men’s road race Sunday and 2012 Olympian Shelley Olds will be in the elite women’s road race Saturday as the week-long UCI Road World Championships wrap up in Richmond.

If U.S. athletes finish in the top three in each race, they will provisionally clinch spots in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, with a maximum of two per gender.

The world championships are being held in the United States for the first time since the 1986 worlds were held in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Phinney returned to competition in August, having recovered from a fracture to his left tibia and fibula he sustained in 2014. He was a part of the winning BMC Racing Team in the team time trial race this past Sunday. Joining Phinney in the men’s race are 2012 Olympian Tyler Farrar, Brent Bookwalter, Lawson Craddock, Alex Howes and Ben King.

Megan Guarnier, Coryn Rivera, Lauren Stephens, Olympian Evelyn Stevens, Lauren Komanski and Taylor Wiles will join Olds in the women’s race.

Kristin Armstrong, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the time trial, finished fifth and Stevens sixth in the women’s individual time trial Wednesday.

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.