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Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Unveiling Olympic Talent: Second Search for Speed Talent Integration Camp Signals Ongoing Hunt

By: Doug Martin  November 20, 2023

With the LA2028 Olympic games rapidly approaching, USA Cycling has uncovered a group of athletes that are currently going through a series of three Talent Integration camps.

USA Cycling's 2023 Search for Speed program continued last month with the second of three Talent Integration (TIN) camps in Los Angeles. The second camp, inclusive of all previously identified returning athletes from the first camp, occurred at the VELO Sports Center in Carson, CA, with gym sessions held at SoCal Weightlifting and IKON Strength & Performance.

While the first TIN camp focused heavily on introducing athletes to the track, the second camp spanned eight consecutive days, dedicated to continuous work on the bike refining their newly developed skills. The camp was overseen by USA Cycling Developmental Track Coach BJ Olson, with trackside support from longtime track great Rory O’Reilly and former BMX pro turned elite track athlete, Emily Hayes.

Gym sessions and sports science were managed by strength and conditioning coach Antonio Squillante, Ph.D., who also collaborates with the USA Cycling Track Sprint National Team. Gym time was utilized to track power progression since the first camp and to reinforce optimal practices for exercises and workouts crucial for excelling in a track sprint setting. Effective gym work is pivotal for sprint success and remains a regular tool at the elite level.

The camp began with a structured WattBike workout which replicated each athlete's performance in their Search for Speed Finals and the first TI camp. This UCI-recognized effort gives the coaches an ongoing power and recovery progress map for each athlete. With the USA Cycling National Sprint Team abroad at the Pan American Games in Chile, track time availability was generous and the program took full advantage of it. Each day at the VELO Sports Center involved analyzing, practicing, and repeating various elements constituting track sprinting. This included Flying 200M efforts focusing on speed building, utilizing the track’s features to a rider’s advantage, mastering unseen lines, start gate, timing, team sprint exchanges, and more. Immediate trackside feedback and film reviews allowed athletes to refine personal techniques and progress. Repetition to build familiarity was crucial. The camp concluded by introducing match sprinting and a final day dedicated to a mock competition featuring timed events and these times established new baselines for individuals heading into their final six-week block leading up to the last Search for Speed TI camp of 2023 which will take place December 8th-16th.

“This second Search for Speed Talent integration Camp was an important milestone on the 2023 Search for Speed program,” said Alec Pasqualina, USA Cycling’s Athlete Development Pathway Director. “This marked the point where athletes were expected to begin demonstrating the skills necessary to develop into legitimate track riders–albeit new ones. It is the time when our performance department and coaches are taking notice.”

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