US Road Race Olympians Share Their Thoughts on Olympics

Chris Horner – It’s all about getting to the Olympics, but once you are here it is all about medaling and really gold is what counts. You gotta go for the win at the Olympics. It is nice to go silver and bronze, but gold is what counts at the Olympics.

We have a great director here in Mike Sayers and we’ll have a plan for what tactics are best for the U.S. team and try to stick to that. We only have five riders so it is not like we have eight or nine riders, so everyone has to be real honest from the very beginning of the race. If your form isn’t where you thought it would be when we were sitting in the meeting then you have to let the team know.

We have a fabulous group of strong riders here. You have Timmy Duggan who can ride really strong all day long, you’ve got Farrar who can win sprints, you’ve got Tejay and I who can go with the best riders in the world on the climb and of course you have Phinney who can motor away. If he gets in the front group at the finish and they give him a gap they are never going to be able to catch him.

It really depends on how the riders feel on the day of the race.”

Taylor Phinney – It’s a huge honor for me to be at my second Olympics. It definitely feels a bit different this time around. I’ve changed events and grown a lot in the last four years. I’m really looking forward to it. I think we have great support and structure here with USA Cycling and a great team. I’m really excited for the next couple of days. I really like being in an English speaking country and really like London.

I really like the course. It’s not terribly difficult, but it’s going to be fun the seventh, eighth and ninth time around I would imagine. The road is a little crazy but the field is a little smaller than we’re used to.
The TT course is a little bit bumpy, as in the roads are bumpy, but that is fine. We deal with bumpy roads all the time. I myself am a fan of cobbles and they aren’t quite as bumpy as cobbles.

I’m a fan of not using race radios anyway, so I don’t really care either way. I like to have both of my ears open and nothing in either one of them. As long as you have a strong team captain, which we do in Chris Horner, who has some sage wisdom, then you are fine.“

Tejay Van Garderen – “ON BEING AN OLYMPIAN: It is incredible (being an Olympian), a huge honor. I love racing with my team, but it is amazing to come here with your own countrymen. It is just a different atmosphere and a lot of fun.

ON THE RACE: The tactics are a bit different with the five-man team and the climb is a bit harder than I thought it was going to be. I really can’t predict what is going to happen, but regardless it will be fun to watch.
ON LACK OF RACE RADIOS: We just have to stay close to each other. Race radios can make a big difference. Say if someone is dropped but really close, if we have race radios we can pace them back to the group. Without radios we may not know things like that and not able to make that call and totally blind to that. It is going to be really important to stay close to each other so we know where everyone is and what everyone’s form is.

PERSONAL: Wife, Jessica was a cyclist herself and is definitely excited that I’m in the Olympics. After this I get to finally go back home and hang out with her in my new house in Boulder.”

Timmy Duggan – “It is an incredible feeling to be an Olympian. The Olympics is something that kind of transcends all sports; whether you are a cyclist, a fencer or a skier. Everyone in the world understands what being an Olympian and winning an Olympic medal means. It is a cultural icon and to be able to say I’m an Olympian is an amazing feeling.

I think it is an interesting course. This Box Hill that we do nine times in the scheme of things is nothing so terrible, but I think the added stress of doing it nine times combined with the fact that the rest of the course is really just not so easy in terms of a lot of time to relax or coast down this nice descent and regain your position. It is a pretty twisty, technical, get out of sight fast kind of circuit with some more rollers.  I think the race can really happen anywhere, not necessarily in that one place. We’re going to have to be ready to pull the trigger and when it is time it won’t necessarily be on Box Hill.  Some races people know where it is going to happen and I don’t think that is the case here. It could happen anywhere.”

Photo credit USA Cycling/Casey Gibson

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