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Thread: No Americans...

  1. #1
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    No Americans...

    I watched the Eliminator at round one of the 2013 World Cup last night. Not one single American guy or girl. 5 billion French, German and Swiss. What has happened to Americans at the world level? We only have a couple who are racing there (Wells, Schultz,...Who else???). Our current standard bearer seems to be Georgia Gold for the ladies (who I will root for this Sunday in the XCO1).
    But seriously, what's up with the lack of US riders at the world level? We have LOTS of pro-riders. Do the Euro's just train harder?
    My friends (who watched with me) and I discussed a possible Lance effect going on. The majority of young riders (from the last 15 years) who took up riding had Lance as their idol and thus got into road racing instead. Maybe? Thoughts?

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    That's the eliminator. Generally speaking, most of the top contenders don't race it.

    That said, I'm not sure what to make of the lack of Americans in the top 20-30. We might have "invented" mountain biking, but Europe has a much larger, deeper cycling culture. And, I'm guessing we don't have anything remotely comparable to their junior or U23 racing in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    That's the eliminator. Generally speaking, most of the top contenders don't race it.
    Even in the other disciplines the Americans are pretty few and far between.

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    True. We don't have all that many road racers killing it either, though. Tejay Van Garderen, Taylor Phinney, and a few other, less successful guys are all we have on the younger side of things.

    Again, we just don't have the depth of talent and a hundred plus years of brutal racing, and racing culture, to push out top level racers all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Again, we just don't have the...racing culture, to push out top level racers all the time.
    Might be the correct point. Maybe too many youngsters would rather just ride lifts and bomb DH instead of train?

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    Brian Lopes did some of the XCE last year. I'm not sure why he didn't do Albstadt. Maybe he's not doing this season. He still has some massive sprint power. He did well last year.

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    No Americans...

    My team mate Neilson Powless is racing on the junior USA squad and I believe is racing the XC today. Super talented kid, keep an eye on him! I believe it is him and Lucas Newcomb from the US in the race.

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    Didn't Lopes basically give up on the paved XCE sprint courses as having nothing to do with mountain biking? Other than Houffalize last year, most of the courses were all paved with hokey man-made obstacles.
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    Here in Utah we are watching and hoping for a kid named Keegan Swenson. He's starting to make a small place for himself on the national squad. He kills all the Pro's in our local races with ease. Just makes me stunned to think how fast the world cup level pro's really are.
    I watch Lopes last year too. He didn't seem to like the street races. How long before we see someone on a CX bike?

  10. #10
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    No Americans...

    Quote Originally Posted by jetboy23 View Post
    Brian Lopes did some of the XCE last year. I'm not sure why he didn't do Albstadt. Maybe he's not doing this season. He still has some massive sprint power. He did well last year.
    Lopes is racing the Enduro World Series. First round this weekend.
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    As someone said the eliminator usually is not a big field as most competitors prefer to rest before the XC race (although I really like the idea of an eliminator style race).

    I think in general endurance type sports are dominated by non-Americans. Just look at XC skiing, triathlon, and mountain biking. We came up with mtb and triathlon and we really don't have a strong contender in those sports. A discussion with friends (who aren't cyclists but do appreciate all sports to a certain level) say that most Americans like our "highlight sports." That is sports where you can use a couple short clips to show the dominance of a team/individual through an event. So sports that don't fall into the category get ignored so kids don't want to do them really. Although mtb and cycling in general seem to be on the rise in the past couple years. Who knows in a few years we might have a hero in the endurance sport category.

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    One has to remember that it's not exactly free and/or easy for Americans to go to Europe and compete. Someone has to put in a lot of money to get a rider over there to compete consistently enough to get good starts etc., and the return on that investment is not huge for a US company. It's not too surprising that a 2 hour drive from Zurich and an 3 hour drive from Munich, you saw a lot of Swiss and German riders.

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    Results of the U23 Men's USA:

    20. Howard Grotts-Specialized Racing XC
    50. Kerry Werner
    DNF: Keegan Swenson (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing
    1 Lap: Russell Finsterwald (USA) Trek Factory Racing

    Results of the U23 Women USA:
    37. Shayna Powless (USA)

    Someone mentioned the money involved in bringing someone to Europe. Since most of the WC riders end up living in Europe to train and race, I can't see that as being a legit reason.

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    I would think/hope the growth of H.S. racing scene will help improve this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by qdawgg View Post
    I would think/hope the growth of H.S. racing scene will help improve this.
    I am thinking the same thing. I wonder if anyone has tracked any of the athletes to see if any are experiencing upper level success? I know a few from the Utah league are really hungry. Now we just have to bring them along without burning them out. I was disappointed to see Keegan Swensen (great white hope from Park City) have to take the DNF in this race. He had a strong 2012.
    Back to the point though: While it's nice to see a couple kids who have a shot to be great coming up through the ranks, where is the overall American presence? Is this sport (like soccer) considered too Euro or something? It is the lycra?

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    Quote Originally Posted by criscobike View Post

    Someone mentioned the money involved in bringing someone to Europe. Since most of the WC riders end up living in Europe to train and race, I can't see that as being a legit reason.
    Even if they live in Europe, someone has to pay for them to live there, where the results probably won't come very quickly because there's really no racing like a WC in the US. If we're talking about an American sponsor and American riders, I'm not sure if there's enough in it for the sponsor, and American riders may actually like to stay in their home country.

    Oh, and Howard is a badass. My money is on him to represent the US in the Olympics at some point, and be seriously competitive at the WC level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by criscobike View Post
    Results of the U23 Men's USA:

    20. Howard Grotts-Specialized Racing XC
    50. Kerry Werner
    DNF: Keegan Swenson (USA) Cannondale Factory Racing
    1 Lap: Russell Finsterwald (USA) Trek Factory Racing

    Results of the U23 Women USA:
    37. Shayna Powless (USA)

    Someone mentioned the money involved in bringing someone to Europe. Since most of the WC riders end up living in Europe to train and race, I can't see that as being a legit reason.
    Not a single one of those racers live in Europe. Finsty I think was getting some time at the new place in Holland early, but everyone else returns to the US. If the races are not back to back weekends, most of the riders return to USA. The only ones full-time anymore are Mary McConneloug (sp?) and Mike Broderick.

    From what I'm seeing the US is stepping up the game a bit and starting to allocate some more money and that's a great thing. One of my teammates Deidre York (19th Worlds-2012, North America's best U23 female finisher) will be going to Val di Sole...
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    Quote Originally Posted by criscobike View Post
    Someone mentioned the money involved in bringing someone to Europe. Since most of the WC riders end up living in Europe to train and race, I can't see that as being a legit reason.
    Actually very few North American world cup racer live in Europe. Mary and Mike from 7-cycles are only two prominent riders who spend any significant time their.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocketjockey9 View Post
    Not a single one of those racers live in Europe. Finsty I think was getting some time at the new place in Holland early, but everyone else returns to the US. If the races are not back to back weekends, most of the riders return to USA. The only ones full-time anymore are Mary McConneloug (sp?) and Mike Broderick.

    From what I'm seeing the US is stepping up the game a bit and starting to allocate some more money and that's a great thing. One of my teammates Deidre York (19th Worlds-2012, North America's best U23 female finisher) will be going to Val di Sole...
    Should have read your post first...
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    Ever try to make a living at it? No one is throwing money at these kids. Flying across the Atlantic and spending a weekend racing WC is not cheap but just getting to the level where you'd belong in that company is pretty $$$. Even if you are winning, you can't pay the bills on the prize pay outs. Not too many people have the money to spend years of effort, equip, coaching etc to get to that level. If you live in USA and have WC talent, you are probably taking to a sport that pays the bills.

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    Well yeah, these are pretty much still kids. I do know that Keegan has spent a lot of time in Italy recently for training and to be ready for the Europe races. I have also spoken to a good number of Pro's who have all told me that they spend lots of time in Europe training.
    My point was not that all riders live in Europe, but was in response to the point that companies wouldn't want to pay for riders to go over for races. I didn't think that was an issue. Sure it's all expensive and teams can't afford to have tons of riders, but you would think that we could find at least a few riders who could be challenging for podiums.
    Personally, I just don't think proximity has very much to do with it. Maybe I am wrong, BUT, since the majority of races are in Europe I could see the argument that kids here just don't get exposed to it as much. I was really bummed to hear that the only race in the 50 states was removed from the calender this year.
    I don't know Howard, but I will for sure watch for his results and cheer for him when I get the chance. I have high hopes that some of these Juniors can move up and get established for sure! What teams are you guys with that you know these kids?

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    Howard and Keegan are both world class athletes.

    Keegan has spent a fair bit of time in Europe this year, he had multiple podiums in the Junior WC races last year. He was sick going into today's race.

    Howard won the collegiate nationals road race last weekend going away. In the process, he climbed a climb used in tour of utah faster than all but one of the pro roadies did in the tour of Utah last year.

    Both these guys will see success in Europe over time. American numbers are down in the WC this year however because JHK, Heather Irminger, and Adam Craig have all committed largely to Enduro races.

    As far as talent and development go, though, I think very few potentially great athletes are exposed to cycling in the US, even fewer find an environment that fosters growth of their skills.
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    Do mtn bike racing in europe have the same competition with other forms of mtn biking? Kids I know would rather work on park riding skills (jumping etc), or downhilling than getting fast on an xc loop. "When I was young" and started racing there was just simply mountain biking, we didn't think of shuttling as an option.

    I think it's cultural; it's probably a lot cooler to be a kid bike racer in europe, many Americans don't really know what bike racing is. I know plenty of people who think the big group rides are 'races'.
    The teenage girls in the US know who the quarterback of their football team is; when the cheerleaders start showing up and doing their thing at hs mtb races, and when CX is a hs fall sport, then the US will be on track to compete internationally.

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    Can I just take a chance of pace for a second to say: THAT RACE TODAY WAS INCREDIBLE!!! One of the best races I have ever seen!

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    Quote Originally Posted by criscobike View Post
    Can I just take a chance of pace for a second to say: THAT RACE TODAY WAS INCREDIBLE!!! One of the best races I have ever seen!
    And won by an Aussie no less ;-)
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