16 U.S. Cyclists in Mexico as Pan American Games Kick Off This Week

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Guadalajara, Mexico (October 11, 2011) – Sixteen cyclists from the United States have made their way down to Mexico for the 2011 Pan American Games. The 16th edition of the quadrennial, multi-sport event kicks off this week in Guadalajara with the opening ceremonies set for Thursday.

The U.S. cycling contingent is comprised of accomplished veterans, as well as some very young talent, and will compete in road, track, mountain bike, and BMX competitions. The mountain bike and BMX competitions in Guadalajara will offer category 5 level UCI points. These points count toward a country’s Nations Ranking, which will determine the number of start spots a nation earns for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Two-wheeled action gets underway Saturday, Oct. 15, as the men’s and women’s cross-country mountain bike races take place near Tapalpa, Mexico. Veteran off-roader Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Cannondale Factory Racing), who placed fourth in London’s Olympic Mountain Bike Test Event this summer, will join U23 mountain bike cross-country national champion Stephen Ettinger (Cashmere, Wash./BMC MTB Development Team) in the men’s event. Competing in the women’s race will be Continental Mountain Bike Championships silver medalist Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Trek).

Next up for cycling will be the women’s road cycling time trials on Sunday, Oct. 16. Donning the red, white and blue in the race against the clock will be elite road race national champion Robin Farina (Charlotte, N.C./NOW and Novartis) and Alison Tetrick Starnes (Mill Valley, Calif./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12)

October 17-20 will see a total of seven U.S. athletes racing the track events at the Pan American Velodrome. Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY 12) is the only endurance rider from the U.S., and she’ll compete in the women’s omnium. Dean Tracy (Portland, Ore./Project 2012), Michael Blatchford (Cypress, Calif./Project 2012) and Jimmy Watkins (Bakersfield, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling), who took silver at the continental championships last spring in Bogota, will again team up for the team sprint. Blatchford and Walker will also contest the sprint. Elizabeth Carlson (Jim Thorpe, Pa./Classic Cycling Essentials) and Madalyn Godby (Louisville, Colo./EnCompass Racing) will race the team sprint on the women’s side and Dana Feiss (Telford, Pa./CPT-Home Depot Center) is set to compete in both the women’s sprint and keirin.

BMX, the penultimate cycling event for the USA, will take center stage on Oct. 21 at the CODE San Nicolas. As the top-ranked woman in USA Cycling’s BMX Power Rankings, Arielle Martin (Spanaway, Wash./Intense BMX) will lead a foursome that also includes Amanda Carr (Punta Gorda, Fla./Paul Williams), Connor Fields (Henderson, Nev./Chase BMX), and Nic Long (Lakeside, Calif./ Haro-Rockstar).

Competition will wrap up for American cyclists on Saturday, Oct. 22, with the women’s road race where Farina will be the lone rider for the USA. The U.S. will not be entering riders in the men’s road race or time trial.

The Pan American Games are second only to the Olympics in magnitude, number of participants and number of sporting events. For more information on the XVI Pan American Games, including complete competition schedules, please visit the event’s official website.

And stay tuned to www.usacycling.org for complete coverage of how U.S. cyclists fare in Guadalajara.

About USA Cycling
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cyclo-cross. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling comprises 66,500+ licensees; 2,200 clubs and teams; and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,650 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit www.usacycling.org.

Source: Keri S. Kahn, USA Cycling, Inc.

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