2014 UCI Road World Championships: Americans with 4 medals and counting

Today was the 1st day of the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. Four Americans stood on the podium for the Team Time Trial (TTT) and many others were participating. This is a fantastic start to the week of races and I can't wait to see how many medals we end up with by next Sunday.

But of course, you already knew that because American non-cycling media has been providing excellent coverage! If you follow cycling, you are seeing the results on FB, Twitter, and even Universal Sports. If not, you are seeing the news that the US has 3 Gold Medals and 1 Bronze across the bottom of your football game, tennis match, or car race. In fact, non-sports networks are covering the news just like during the Olympics.

What, you aren't seeing this? You didn't know that Carmen Small, Evelyn Stevens, and Alison Tetrick have shiny new hardware thanks to years of hard work and sacrifice. Carmen and Evie have golds along with their teammates on Team Specialized-lululemon, a couple of major US sponsors. Their male counterpart Tejay van Garderen is also in gold along with his US based Team BMC Cycling. Not to mention, a very close 4th place for Team Optum Pro Cycling only 7 seconds from a podium in the women's race. Optum is a US Team and one of the only all-North American professional teams in the world.

Ok, seriously, what a wasted opportunity. Next year, the United States hosts the 2015 World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. If this were the Olympics and the US was host in 4yrs, there would be plenty of coverage in preparation for the upcoming event on American soil. We don't have Universal Sports, but I hope they are giving Richmond plenty of plugs to get Americans excited about this major event. I also hope local networks are discussing the 2014 Worlds across the East Coast and encouraging non-cyclists to get involved, become volunteers, and support cycling!

Our American athletes deserve more than this. I'm not going to get into all the issues the NFL has had lately, but why can't a network or sponsor spare a few minutes of screen time for cycling on such an important Sunday. It is the World Championships! Race winners earn the right to wear the championship jersey in 2015 and wear championship stripes the rest of their career. It's a really big deal!

Not all American non-cycling media is ignoring this great achievement, Bonnie Ford (ESPN & Olympics writer extraordinaire) wrote in-depth articles on these racers in July and has reposted them during the day. I encourage you to take the time (maybe during that next football commercial) to learn about these athletes.
     Small is biking thru challenges
     Evelyn Stevens breaking ground for women

Alison and Tejay have fascinating back-stories as well. Alison is temporarily racing with Astana Be Pink out of Italy, on loan from Team Twenty16. and Tejay has Montana roots, but is now married to a former woman racer and living in Colorado. He finished 5th at the Tour de France and just won the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. We always hear the excuses about not showing women's cycling, but in today's case, not even being a man was enough. In fact, Tejay called today's win "The highlight of his career". Maybe we'll see it on Top 10 or the evening news, but I'm not going to stay home or dvr it.

I'm sure there are a handful of non-cycling American media sources sharing news of the 2014 World Championships, but it isn't what it should be. There is no shortage of photographers and journalists that would be happy to submit work to mainstream networks and media outlets.

I know I'm preaching to the choir, but this is a way I can provide both coverage and my thoughts to this issue. We need to show our pride in American success! We need to ask for coverage of athletes we respect. Those that don't expect the world to cater to them and rules to be broken for them. We need to tell sponsors that we won't put up with "bad" athletes and will buy more of their products if they back "good" athletes that have an international presence, represent American success, and bring home medals.