UCI World Cycling Centre: Rio-bound athletes
Fourteen of the UCI World Cycling Centre’s (WCC) trainee athletes will be competing in their respective national colours in Rio.
After putting the finishing touches to their preparation in Aigle over the last few weeks, the road, track and BMX athletes are reaching the peak of their form, with their coaches declaring them ready for the Olympic challenge.
UCI WCC Director Frédéric Magné is looking forward to following their Brazilian adventure: “Many of the athletes who arrive at the UCI World Cycling Centre dream of one day competing at the Olympic Games. When that dream becomes reality it is rewarding not only for the athletes but also for the UCI World Cycling Centre and our coaches. We are always proud to see our athletes compete for their countries, and we wish the best of luck to all the trainees travelling to Rio over the next week.”
Road race, August 6th and 7th
The first UCI WCC trainees to leave for the Brazilian capital are the members of the road group, some of whom have already joined their National Federations for the trip.
José-Luis Rodriguez (Chile) and Anass Ait El Abdia (Morocco) will line up in the men’s road race on August 6th, while Arlenis Sierra (Cuba) and Ahreum Na (Korea) take the start of the women’s road race the following day.
Our Brazilian trainee Caio Godoy is reserve for the host nation’s road cycling team.
“They are really ready. They are stronger than ever,” declares UCI WCC Coach Alejandro Gonzalez-Tablas. “They recently finished their last specific block of training with some competitions. Now it’s all about tapering and peaking for the competition, which means low training volume and some quality but short sessions to keep the level they have at the moment.”
And their objectives?
“Their first goal was to qualify for the Olympics, but now it is to finish the race with the highest possible rank,” explains their UCI WCC coach.
Track cycling, August 11th to 16th
Eight members of the UCI WCC track group will be competing in the velodrome at the Barra Olympic Park.
The host nation Brazil will make its Olympic comeback to track cycling for the first time since 1992 with our trainee Gideoni Rodigues Monteiro, who will compete in the Omnium. Egypt’s Ebtissam Zayed Ahmed Mohamed will compete in the Women’s sprint, while Lisandra Guerra Rodriguez (Cuba) will line up in the sprint and the keirin.
Lisandra is the most experienced of our trainees, having already competed in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. UCI WCC Coach Scott Bugden confirms that the former UCI World Champion in the 500m time trial (in 2008) is back in her best shape and has recorded personal best times over 500m and 200m in recent weeks.
“We are hoping for a medal,” says the coach. “She has a chance in both the keirin and the sprint. She is incredibly experienced and in excellent form.”
Meanwhile five Korean athletes based at the UCI WCC with their coaches will also be travelling to Brazil full of hope.
Sanghoon Park was leading the 2016 UCI Track Cycling World Cup in the Men’s Omnium before a bad crash in Hong Kong put him out of contention. But he is back an action and going from strength to strength. Meanwhile the Men’s sprint team (Jeyoung Son, Dongjin Kang and Chaebin Im) will be aiming for a personal best time in Rio, with Dongjin (individual sprint) and Chaebin (keirin) capable of performing very well in their individual events.
The fifth Korean athlete, Hyejin Lee, is in with a chance of winning a medal, and why not gold, in the Women’s keirin. Finalist in the UCI Track Cycling World Cup rounds in New Zealand and Hong Kong, she finished fifth at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in London in March, and last week set a personal best time of 10”760 in the flying 200.
“She’s up there with the fastest,” warns coach Ross Edgar.
BMX, August 20th and 21st
Japan’s Yoshi Nagasako and Venezuela’s Stefany Hernandez will be the UCI WCC’s representatives in the BMX competitions, while Renaud Blanc (Switzerland) and Natalia Suvorova (Russia) will also travel to Rio as reserves.
“We’re going for a gold medal,” says UCI WCC Coach Thomas Allier, who will travel to Rio with the athletes on August 12th.
At London 2012, Stefany’s Olympic campaign came to an end in the semi-finals. This time round, the 2015 UCI World Champion has the firm intention to make the final and win a medal, preferably gold.
“She is in amazing shape,” confirms UCI WCC Coach Thomas Allier. “The goal is gold. Yoshi is also extremely strong again,” he adds.
The UCI World Cycling Centre will be hoping for an Olympic title for 2016 UCI World Champion Joris Daudet, who has just spent two weeks training with the centre’s athletes, as he did earlier in the year to prepare for the UCI BMX World Championships.