by Evan Schmitt | @evanschmitt
We’re less than one week away from the Cyclocross World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium, and we recently talked to USA Cycling National Team Coach and former pro Marc Gullickson about what goes into selecting the squad for Worlds. You can find out who made the team here.
Cyclocross Magazine: How is the US national team selected for the Cyclocross World Championships?
Marc Gullickson: We put together a selection document well in advance of each World Championships, and all the detailed selection criteria broken down by category. We use these selection criteria for our auto selections and then we use our “USA Cycling Principles of Athlete Selection” criteria to pick the remainder of the team from riders who petition for a discretionary spot.
CXM: What is the current ranking of the American team in the World and how is that ranking decided?
MG: As a Nation we are currently ranked fifth for Elite Men and second for Elite Women (no UCI Nation ranking for U23 or Juniors). They determine these Nation rankings by tallying the UCI points from our top three riders in each category (Elite Men and Elite Women).
CXM: Are the UCI points for each rider for each racing season (i.e. 2011-2012 season) or do they “roll over” from year-to-year?
MG: The points a riders wins at UCI events last for one calendar year. A rider will have points that they won the previous year at the start of the next season and will only lose them when the date they won them the previous year passes.
CXM: How many of the riders are financed by USA Cycling and how many have to pay their own way?
MG: The top qualifier for Elite Men, Elite Women, U23 Men and Junior Men are fully funded riders for the World Championships. The remainder of the riders are responsible for their own funding. I also fund a number of other USAC Development trips for cyclocross, and the Hoogerheide World Cup the weekend before Worlds will be one of these races.
CXM: Does USAC fund the riders for the Hoogerheide World Cup?
MG: Yes, we will cover all costs for the development riders that are staying at the USAC house in Izegem.
CXM: Why are there only two U23 men on the team this year?
MG: Only one rider petitioned for a discretionary spot on the U23 Worlds team (Cody Kaiser) and Zach McDonald qualified automatically.
CXM: How did our entire women’s team become automatic nominations and has this ever happened before?
MG: To my knowledge it has never happened before. While making the selection for the Worlds, we were trying to make the Top 15 in a World Cup portion of the criteria the same for all categories (this year a top 15 in a World Cup was an auto for all categories). It proved to be a relatively low bar (in comparison to the Elite Men, U23 Men and Junior Men) for our Elite Women to attain this year, so we will discuss this after the World Championships and see if we need to raise that for Elite Women next year. It’s always nice to have an open spot to fill on the team if someone is riding very well in the second half of the season but doesn’t qualify automatically. Having said this I am very happy with the quality of our Women’s team this year so in the end I think it worked out very well. This dilemma is just a reflection of how strong our Elite Women are in comparison to the rest of the World and I think speaks to the quality of Elite Women’s racing here in the US.