Fast track to the Olympics: USA Cycling holds open trials in Los Angeles
A new intiative, 'Search for Speed', is trying to increase diversity in USA Cycling's track ranks
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If you live in Los Angeles and fancy becoming a part of USA Cycling's squad for the 2028 Olympics, a golden opportunity is around the corner.
The organisation has launched a programme called Search for Speed (opens in new tab), and is holding public events to try and get underrepresented people into its ranks ahead of the games which will return to the Californian city for the first time since 1984.
Its website says: "Search for Speed is a new talent identification program designed to introduce track cycling to diverse and underrepresented communities in Los Angeles, providing youth and young adults with a dedicated pathway to the U.S. National Team"
The tryouts began last Friday, but eight more are scheduled over March, April and May.
The sessions are open to the public and participants can arrive anytime within the testing window. The instructions say the intake and screening take about 20 minutes, and participants under the age of 18 need permission from a parent or guardian.
They involve a force plate vertical jump and a 30-second Wattbike power test. All participants will receive a report showing how they stack up to existing USA Cycling National Team members and “resources to continue cycling in the Los Angeles area.”
Following that, the top riders from the trials will be invited to an invitation-only combine final where they will have the tested against performance benchmarks in order to qualify for talent integration and development camps.
When the scheme was launched, USA Cycling's CEO, Brendan Quirk, said that he was looking for "kids who are exceptional athletes".
“Our goal with Search for Speed is to go into the local LA communities and introduce them to the wonders of track cycling, in particular sprint track cycling,” he explained in a press release.
“We’re looking for kids who are exceptional athletes in more traditional sports, like football, basketball, soccer, and get them exposed to bike racing. We have an incredible facility at the VELO Sports Center Velodrome and we want to see that next generation of kids racing on the track and potentially at the Olympic Games.”
With the Olympics coming to LA in five years time, USA Cycling is seeking to bring underrepresented communities to the fore in the city; the organisation is also hoping to create a "lasting legacy of participation success that is an accurate reflection of the country’s population".
The next trial is at the LA Bike Academy from 12pm-5pm on Saturday. Good luck.
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Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.
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