Jun 172012

Shelley Olds cycling towards London OlympicsCasey Gibson USA Cycling

Shelley Olds cycling towards London Olympics

Groton’s Shelley Olds is one of 21 nominees made by USA Cycling to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. Olds, 31, was picked for the four-woman road racing team and is thought to have a shot at a medal in London in August. The woman’s road race team is a component of the 24-person cycling team that will represent the United States at the summer games. So far, Olds is one of 10 male and 11 female athletes from across the disciplines of road cycling, track cycling, mountain biking, and bicycle motocross (BMX) nominated by the US cycling organization.

Olds was a runner and soccer player at Groton-Dunstable Regional High School through her graduation in 1999; she went on to captain the Roanoke College soccer team and to earn a B.S. Health & Human Performance. The US Cycling group lists her current residences as Gilroy, California and Girona, Spain.

According to US Cycling, Shelley was introduced to cycling by riding on the back of a tandem mountain bike in 2005. A talented runner and soccer player, Shelley left those behind when she fell in love with track racing, a dynamic cycling discipline that offered a variety of Olympic events. She trained resolutely; she pushed herself and excelled at track racing, eventually settling on the points race as her Olympic medal target. Then in a bait-and-switch maneuver by the International Olympic Committee, the points race was removed from the Games and just like that, her motive for medaling vanished. But her goal was to compete in the Olympics; now all she needed was a new sport to excel.

Starting in 2010, Shelley transitioned laterally from a white-hot track racer to  one of the world’s top sprinters on the road but she had more to prove. In practically no time, she claimed a respectable handful of podium finishes in prestigious stage races, as well as maintained status as a sprinter by clinching crit wins, including multiple national titles.”

Her relatively brief career as a pro cyclist (2007- present) suggests an athlete with a mind trained on success and a body that obeys what the mind wants.”

Shelley Olds celebrates after her win in China on May 14

Shelley Olds celebrates after her win in China on May 14

Olds, riding for the AA Drink-Leontien Cycling Team, won a bunch sprint on May 14 to take the top step of the podium at the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup on Sunday. That win apparently cemented her nomination as an Olympic team member.

A US Cycling press release relates that the fifth round of the UCI World Cup series was a trek from Pudong to the finish on Chongming Island via the Changjiang Tunnel and Bridge. Considered a sprinter”s race, the bunch stayed together with no serious breakaways. In a very close finish, Olds sprinted to the line with Melissa Hoskins and Monia Baccaille, and took the win by a very small margin.

“My team did a great job bringing me into the finish,” she said afterwards. “I would like to thank them all. I couldn”t have done it without them.”

Winning a 2012 World Cup AND being ranked in the top ten of the World Cup standings as of May 31 is the fourth criterion for an automatic nomination to the women”s Olympic road squad.

Following her World Cup win in China, Olds is now ranked fifth in the World Cup standings with 75 points. Fellow AmericanEvelyn Stevens (Dennis, Mass./Specialized-lululemon) has also won a 2012 World Cup (La Flèche Wallonne) and is tied with Olds in the World Cup standings with 75 points.

Olds’ Olympic Experience/UCI World Championships Results

  • 3rd place – 2009 UCI Track World Cup, Manchester, England
  • 22nd place – 2011 UCI Road World Championships, road race, Copenhagen, Denmark

National Championship Experience

  • Two-time USA Cycling criterium national champion, 2010 and 2011
  • Two-time USA Cycling track scratch race national champion, 2008 and 2009

Career Highlights

  • 1st place – 2012 UCI World Cup #4 Tour of Chongming Island, China
  • 1st place – 2011 G.P. Costa Etrusca, Italy
  • 1st place – 2010 Pan American Championships, road race, Elite Women, Aguascalientes, Mexico
  • 1st place overall – 2010 Tour of New Zealand
  • 1st place – 2010 Tour of the Gila, criterium, Silver City, New Mexico
  • 1st place -2009 Tulsa Tough, omnium, stages 2 and 3, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • 2nd place – 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix, criterium, June 20, 2010, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 2nd place – 2010 TD Bank Liberty Classic, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2nd place – 2009  Track World Cup, Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2nd place – 2009 Nature Valley Grand Prix, overall, Minnesota
  • 2nd place – 2009 Giro Donne, Italy, Stage 8, Jul 11, 2009, San Marco Dei Cavoti – Pesco Sannita