With eight world championship medals and six Olympic appearances between them, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Road Cycling Team will be a force to be reckoned with at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this August.
Megan Guarnier provisionally qualified last September by winning bronze at the world championships in Richmond, Virginia. She confirmed her qualification today by continuing to demonstrate the ability to perform through the selection date.
Joining Guarnier are discretionary selections Mara Abbott, two-time reigning Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong, Brent Bookwalter, two-time Olympian Taylor Phinney and 2012 Olympian Evelyn Stevens.
Armstrong, in particular, is set to make history in Rio regardless of how she finishes. At 42 years old, she will become the oldest-ever U.S. Olympic female cyclist. She will also be the first U.S. women's cyclist to compete at four Olympic Games since Connie Paraskevin-Young competed from 1984-96.
All four U.S. women will compete in the road race, with Armstrong and Stevens also competing in the time trial. Bookwalter and Phinney will race in both the road race and time trial.
Meet the 2016 U.S. Olympic Road Cycling Team…
Abbott, 30, currently is ranked 61st in the world. She won the overall silver medal of the 2015 Giro d’Italia Femminile, powered by her victory in the final stage of an event she has won twice in her career (2010, 2013). Making her Olympic debut, Abbott is a powerful climber who put that skill to use in May to win Silver City’s Tour of the Gila for the sixth time. She also won the yellow jersey at the 2014 Vuelta a El Salvador. She is a two-time national road cycling champion (2007, 2010).
Armstrong, 42, is back for a defense of the individual time trial gold she won at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and successfully defended in London. A three-time Olympian who placed eighth in Athens, she retired from the sport after the 2009 world championships to start her family, then returned after her son’s birth to become the oldest rider to win an Olympic time trial with her title defense in London. She retired again in 2012, but got back on the bike in April 2015 for a shot at her fourth Olympic team. A six-time national champion (four in time trials, two in road race), who is ranked No. 51 in the world, she holds a medal of each hue from the world championships: golds in 2006 and 2009, silver in 2007 and bronze from 2005. She ranks second on the list of most decorated U.S. riders at the senior-level world championships, trailing Greg LeMond who won two golds and two silvers in the 1980s. Armstrong will turn 43 on Aug. 11, during the Rio Games.
In 2011, Bookwalter was part of the team that won the Tour de France. A nine-time collegiate champion at Lees-McRae College, he has been on six U.S. world championship teams and makes his Olympic debut at the age of 32. He placed second overall in the 2013 Tour of Qatar. Currently ranked 178th in the world, he has enjoyed strong overall showings the past two years, including a second in the 2015 USA Pro Cycling Challenge and thirds on the 2015 Tour of Utah and 2016 Tour of California.
Ranked No. 2 in the world, Guarnier’s 2015 world bronze was the first U.S. women’s worlds road race medal in 21 years and carved her a place in the debate over who will medal in Brazil. Her win last month at the AMGEN Tour of California propelled her to the top of the Women’s World Tour rankings, a lead she solidified on June 5 when she won the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. Since she scored her first international podium with a silver at the 2009 Grand Prix Cholet-Pays de Loire, she has recorded 16 podium finishes, including eight in 2016 alone. She is a three-time U.S. road champion, including the last two.
Phinney earns his third Olympic team selection four days before his 26th birthday. To say that the Olympic Games are in his blood is an understatement – it would be more accurate to say they are in his DNA. His father, Davis, won bronze at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games and is one of only three Americans to win a stage of the Tour de France. His mother, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, was a speedskating Olympian in 1972 and cycling Olympic gold medalist in 1984. She is one of only 10 Americans to compete at both the summer and winter Games. Taylor has come tantalizingly close to the Olympic podium himself. After a seventh-place finish in track cycling’s individual pursuit at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, he switched to road cycling and placed fourth in both the road race and time trial at the London 2012 Games. A three-time U.S. time trials national champion, he won time trial silver at the 2012 world championships. He also has two world medals as a junior and two at the Under-23 level. Before his switch to the road he claimed the 2009 world title in individual pursuit on the track.
Currently ranked No. 20 in the world, Stevens returns to the Olympic stage after placing 24th at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She has been enjoying a strong run-up to the Rio Olympic Games, including a time trial bronze medal at the 2014 world championships and a silver-medal finish two months ago at the World Tour ranking event in La Fleche Wallonne, Belgium. Her bronze medal May 22 at the AMGEN Tour of California in South Lake Tahoe, California, completed a U.S. podium sweep, with Olympic teammates Guarnier and Armstrong placing first and second, respectively. Stevens also won time trial silver at the 2011 worlds.