KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The cycling team that the U.S. is taking to the Tokyo Olympics is a little different from the one it would have taken 12 months ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to postpone the Summer Games by an entire year.
In many ways, it’s a whole lot stronger.
Among those on the team announced Thursday are mountain biker Haley Batten, who’s been on the podium each of the first two World Cup races of the season; Megan Jastrab, the 19-year-old track cycling prodigy who will be part of the gold medal-favorite women’s pursuit team and also contest the Madison; and 23-year-old time trial star Brandon McNulty.
There’s a chance none would have made the squad a year ago, yet the extra competition and development gave them the chance to join what could be the deepest American team headed to an Olympics in decades.
“This is a really good team, to be honest,” Jim Miller, the chief of sport performance for USA Cycling, told The Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview. “We’ve qualified a good number of spots, a good group of athletes competing. I think in most cases the year off was good for us. It gave us a little more time to prepare.”
Miller guided the national team to 14 Olympic medals over a 17-year tenure before departing USA Cycling two years ago to work for a private coaching company. But as part of a massive overhaul under new chief executive Rob DeMartini, he agreed to return last […]