USA Cycling has its sights set on winning a good portion of the 22 gold medals at the Tokyo Olympic Games across five disciplines: road, track, mountain bike, BMX and BMX Freestyle.
There are gold, silver and bronze medals for the road race, time trial, mountain bike XCO, BMX, BMX Freestyle, Team Pursuit, Team Sprint, Keirin, Individual Sprint, Madison and Omnium for men and women.
The USA qualified the maximum allotment of riders for the women’s events – four for the road race, two for the time trial, six on the track, three in the mountain bike races, three in BMX and two in BMX Freestyle.
Their men’s teams have qualified fewer riders but still have lofty goals, with two representatives on the road, two on the track, one in MTB, two in BMX and BMX Freestyle.
Meet the athletes who are representing the USA in the cycling events in the galleries below.
Team USA for road race and time trial
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Chloe Dygert is one of Team USA’s top prospects for a gold medal in Tokyo, both on the track and in the individual time trial. The Indiana native is just 24, and already has two junior world titles and the 2019 world time trial title to her name in addition to seven gold medals in Worlds on the track and a silver medal from the Olympic Games team pursuit in Rio in 2016. The current national time trial champion, Dygert overcame a serious laceration to her quadriceps suffered in a crash during the 2020 UCI Road World championships time trial, where she was on track to challenge eventual winner Anna van der Breggen. Dygert will compete in both the road race and time trial.
Ruth Winder, 28, was born in the UK but lives in Boulder, Colorado. Her primary focus was on the track for much of her career, and she was part of several national championship team pursuit squads as well as the Pan American champion team in 2015. She was selected as the fifth rider for team pursuit in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 but did not compete. She then turned her focus to the road, winning the Tour de Feminin and Joe Martin Stage Race in 2017, a stage of the Giro Donne in 2018, and the Tour Down Under in 2020. After her team won the opening team time trial in the 2020 Giro Donne, Winder wore the leader’s maglia rosa. She plans to retire after the World Championships in Belgium this year.
Amber Neben, 46, is competing in her third Olympic Games on the road, having represented the USA in Beijing and London. Twice a time trial world champion and national champion in the road race and time trial, Neben’s palmares are stacked with other victories such as the Route de France, Tour de l’Aude, Redlands Classic, and the Tour du Grand Montréal. She’s overcome cancer, having a serious melanoma in 2007 and a horrific crash in the Tour of California in 2013 that almost ended her career. The Californian will be riding the time trial in Tokyo.
Coryn Rivera, 28, is competing in her first Olympic Games and is the team’s top sprinter, having recently won the final stage of the Giro Donne in a sprint against London Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Deignan. A 72-time multi-discipline national champion, Rivera has grown beyond her traditional sprinter’s role with high-profile victories in the Trofeo Alfredo Binda and Tour of Flanders. The Californian will be competing in the road race in memory of her father, a physician, who died of COVID-19 this year.
Leah Thomas, 32, is another Olympic Games debutant, having turned to cycling from running after developing plantar fasciitis. Her career has been on a steady upward trajectory since racing full-time in Europe, with a breakthrough win in the Tour de Feminin in 2018, the overall Women’s Tour of Scotland in 2019 and a WorldTour podium at Strade Bianche in 2020. The California native will compete in the road race.
Lawson Craddock, 29, hails from Houston, Texas. Craddock won a silver and a bronze in the World Championship time trials and national titles in both the road race and time trial as a junior. Craddock was the best young rider in the Tour of California in 2013 and 2014. A valuable team member for stage races, he has raced the Tour de France twice, enduring a fractured shoulder on the first stage in 2018 and fighting to stay in the race. He pledged to donate $100 for every stage he finished to the Greater Houston Cycling Association in Texas, to help rebuild the Alkek velodrome that had been badly damaged by a hurricane. The campaign went viral and ended with over $350,000 being donated. Craddock won this year’s time trial national championships and will compete in both the road race and time trial.
Brandon McNulty, 23, from Phoenix, Arizona, is one of the country’s best young talents. In 2019, McNulty made his name by winning the Giro di Sicilia stage race. In his first Grand Tour, the 2020 Giro d’Italia, he was third in the stage 14 time trial and second on stage 10. This year he was second to Primož Roglič in the time trial at the Tour of the Basque Country. Racing in his first Tour de France, McNulty helped his trade teammate Tadej Pogačar seal the overall victory before travelling to Tokyo where he will compete in the time trial and road race.
Team USA for mountain bike XCO
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Kate Courtney, 25, was the first US woman to win a MTB World Cup as a junior. She went on to win as an elite in the UCI MTB World Championships in 2018 in Lenzerheide. The California native won three MTB World Cup events in 2019 but the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted racing in 2020. She broke her wrist in the Nove Mesto World Cup earlier this season. The fracture kept her out of competition but not out of the picture for her first Olympic Games appearance.
Haley Batten, 22, a Utah native, Batten burst onto the scene this season in her first year out of the under-23 ranks. She won the short track and was second in the XCO World Cup in Nove Mesto and followed that up with another podium in Albstadt. Batten is a dark horse for the medals in Tokyo but has her sights further down the road for the Paris and Los Angeles Games.
Erin Huck, 40, was a late addition to the Olympic Games team, replacing Chloe Woodruff after an arbitration. Having come to the sport late, Huck settled on mountain biking with ample trails in her hometown of Estes Park, Colorado. She made the US team for Worlds in 2012 and had her best finish in Worlds in 2015 in 11th.
Christopher Blevins, 23, has two medals from the UCI MTB World Championships as an under-23. The Durango, Colorado native also competed on the road as a professional with the Hagens Berman Axeon team, winning a stage of the Tour of the Gila in 2018. Blevins, still developing in the elite ranks, is another Olympian for the future.
Team USA for track cycling
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Chloe Dygert (see road above)
Jennifer Valente, 26, is racing in her second Olympic Games after being part of the silver medal Team Pursuit squad in Rio. Valente has been a key member of USA Cycling’s track team, having won four world championship titles. A native of San Diego, Valente has a long history on the track, having started racing on the San Diego velodrome in 2008. This year, she has added the Omnium and Madison to her Olympic Games programme.
Emma White, 23, of Duanesburg, N.Y. started out as a highly successful road and cyclo-cross racer along with her brother Curtis. She won the national junior road title in 2014, the U23 Pan American cyclo-cross title in 2017 and swept the U23 road nationals, winning the time trial, road race and criterium in 2018. White entered the USA Cycling track programme in 2018 and, in her debut at the UCI Track World Championships in 2020 was part of the winning team pursuit squad. Tokyo will be her Olympic Games debut in the Team Pursuit.
Lily Williams, 27, hails from Tallahassee, Florida. Her mother Sarah Docter participated in the 1980 Olympics in speedskating. Williams was a runner but turned to cycling in 2016. The next year she won a stage in the Joe Martin Stage Race and signed a pro contract. In 2018 she won the Winston Salem Classic. Another new recruit to the Team Pursuit programme, Williams was on the pursuit team that won the 2020 world title and will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo in the Team Pursuit.
Megan Jastrab, 19, has already made her name in the sport of cycling several times over, winning the 2019 UCI World Championships junior women’s road race and taking home junior world titles on the track in the Omnium and Madison the same year to add to her 29 national titles. She races professionally on the road with Team DSM but has focussed on the track ahead of Tokyo, where she will compete in the Madison with Jennifer Valente.
Maddie Godby, 28, from Colorado Springs, Colorado is the first US woman to compete in the Olympic Games sprint events since Jennie Reed in 2008. Godby has won two World Cup gold medals in the Keirin and holds three sprint national records and is a 17-time national champion. She will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo in the Individual Sprint and Keirin.
Gavin Hoover, 24, from Manhattan Beach, California, joined USA Cycling’s team pursuit programme in 2017 and was part of the world record setting squad at the Pan American Championships in 2018. The men’s team unfortunately did not qualify for Tokyo but the USA earned a spot in the Madison. Hoover refocused on the event where he will pair with the experienced Adrian Hegyvary. The two won a silver medal at the Pan American Games in 2019.
Adrian Hegyvary, 37, is a highly experienced road and track racer, and an expert in the Madison, winning back-to-back national titles with Dan Holloway, gold in the Pan American Championships and UCI World Cup. He’s toured Europe on the Six Day circuit and raced professionally on the road but this will be his Olympic Games debut.
- Alise Willoughby – Rio Olympics silver medallist, two-time world champion
- Felicia Stancil – Pan American champion
- Payton Ridenour – pump track world champion
- Connor Fields – Rio Olympics gold medallist
- Corben Sharrah – 2017 World Champion, Rio Olympian
- Hannah Roberts – 2019 World Cup winner
- Perris Benegas – 2018 World Champion
- Justin Dowell – 2018 World Champion
- Nick Bruce
Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news.