USA Cycling announced its track team for the Rio Olympic games Friday, a fresh-faced squad with five of six riders aged 23 years or younger. The Americans have yet to select a men’s omnium rider, but otherwise, there are few surprises in the 2016 line-up.
Sarah Hammer is the team’s most experienced rider, with two Olympic silvers to her credit, as well as eight world championship titles. The Colorado-based 32-year-old will race two events: team pursuit and omnium. She’s currently ranked third by the UCI in the six-event individual race and won a bronze in the omnium at worlds in London.
Four young talents are joining Hammer on the team pursuit squad: Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert, Jennifer Valente, and Ruth Winder are all Olympics first-timers, ranging in age from 19 (Dygert) to 22 (Winder). However, the young outfit, captained by Hammer impressed at London worlds, handily winning the title in the team pursuit. Of the four youngsters, Winder has the most track experience, a national champion in junior and senior categories.
Matt Baranoski, 23, is the only confirmed rider on the men’s team. He finished 23rd out of 25 riders in the world championship keirin. He’s currently ranked 10th in the world in that sprint event and finished third in the keirin at the second round of the Track World Cup in December 2015. This will be his first Olympics as well.
There are questions as to whether Bobby Lea, America’s top omnium rider, will be allowed to race the Olympics, given a recent doping suspension. USA Cycling will not announce its omnium selection until April 1.
Kelly Catlin (NorthStar Development): Team pursuit
Chloe Dygert (Twenty16 – Sho-air): Team pursuit
Sarah Hammer: Omnium*, team pursuit
Jennifer Valente (Twenty16 – Sho-Air): Team pursuit
Ruth Winder (UnitedHealthcare): Team pursuit
Matt Baranoski (Custom Velo): Keirin
Men’s omnium will be decided by April 1