USA Cycling will be hosting a series of European development camps as part of its mountain development programme in the spring/summer of 2009. The U23 and junior cross-country camps will be based in Kirchzarten, Germany, each running for a three-week period.
The first camp will run May 7 – 25 and will be open to U23 riders only. While the second and third camps, May 28 – June 15 and June 18 – July 6, will be open to both U23 and junior 17-18 riders. All riders who are eager to improve through international competition are encouraged to use these camps as a primary development tool.
“These camps bring our cross-country mountain bike development program in line with USA Cycling’s philosophy of focusing on developing our top young riders through international race experience,” explained programme director Marc Gullickson. “This plan will provide European mountain bike racing opportunities to a larger number of riders so that the World Championships isn’t the first experience a young rider has racing outside of the U.S.
“In an effort to fill the World Championship team with medal capable riders, it is important to give these athletes an opportunity to prove they can compete and win against top international fields in advance of their selection to the World Championship squad,” he added. “The camps will be an important stepping stone for young mountain bike riders to reach the top level of elite racing.”
Levels of financial support will vary per rider qualifications. Full financial support will be offered only to 2008 USA Cycling Cross Country National Champions in the U23 Men and Junior Men 17-18 age categories. Riders who qualified for automatic nomination to the 2008 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, and will still be competing in the same age category, will only be required to pay round trip air fare to Europe. All other attendees will be required to pay round trip air fare as well as an US$850 camp fee.
One non-funded spot will also be awarded to the top finishing 21-22 year-old who places inside the top 10 in the Sea Otter Classic’s pro men’s cross-country race. One additional non-funded spot will also be awarded to the top finishing 19-20 year-old who places inside the top 20 in the Sea Otter Classic’s pro men’s cross-country race. A third non-funded spot will also be awarded to the winner of the Sea Otter Classic’s junior men’s cross-country category one race on April 19.
All interested riders should petition for a specific camp using the mountain bike development camp petition form which can be found here. This form should be e-mailed directly to Marc Gullickson on or before April 1.
Riders will be selected based on past international and domestic race results as well as performance at the 2008 USA Cycling National Mountain Bike Talent ID Camp.