And yes, DNF is an option.
Before Jock Boyer was (allegedly) the first American to compete in the Tour de France, he was 5th at a little race called the World Championships. He also featured prominently in the 1982 edition that marked Greg Lemond’s arrival at the sport’s highest level.
In 1983, Lemond came back and won the Rainbow Jersey, and in 1989, put the icing on the cake of his comeback (and wrote another hapless chapter in the book of Laurent Fignon’s life) by wrapping up a second World title. Four years later, some fat kid named Lance Armstrong capped his best season to date with a World Championships win on the rain-slicked streets of Oslo.
But what great performances have the the American men turned in at Worlds lately? Armstrong’s 4th place in 1998 is noteworthy, but he’ll always be an also-ran at that event. Horner’s ST 8th in 2004? Heck, the best I can think of are Guido Trenti’s leadouts that put not one, but two non-Americans in the rainbow jersey.
Well, I for one, am sick of it. Dave Z’s been a solid TT competitor, American women have plenty of titles, and even Team USA’s U23s have been in the mix. But it’s a travesty to roll up to the road race with the largest elite men’s squad allowed and have no one in the final selection.
So my plan is to shame American men and USA Cycling into putting some effort back into Worlds. With help from Cannondale, one of the first American bike companies to make inroads into the European peloton, I’m offering a limited run SuperSix KOM t-shirt to the reader who correctly guesses (or comes closest to guessing) the position of the highest-placed American at the upcoming Men’s Elite World Championship Road Race:
To enter, simply email me () with your guess at the place of the best American finisher, along with an estimated time back as a tie-breaker. You don’t even have to guess who it will be, but you can if you want to.
Should you be the lucky winner, I will contact you for a mailing address and a T-shirt size. Here’s a full list of the American competitors.
As mentioned earlier, DNF will be considered a legitimate entry, but if that’s your pick, you’ll need to include a guess at time back of the last-placed non-DNF in the race, again for the purpose of tie-breaking.