Before Sunday’s Women’s Road Race at the 2012 London Olympics, Groton native Shelley Olds was quoted extensively in an article in Velo News, an international cycling news site, about the US Women’s Cycling team’s chances, and was profiled in a prestigious professional cycling publication earlier this month.
Golden confidence for the U.S. women
In Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, Evelyn Stevens and Olds, the U.S. team is perhaps the strongest in the women’s 67-rider peloton. But whether or not that will translate to a medal remains to be seen. Olds, who won the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup in May and a stage at the Giro Donne in July, is the team’s designated sprinter, while Stevens, Neben and Armstrong are all-rounders.
“I’m confident right now that, if it comes to a sprint, I can sprint with the best sprinters,” Olds said. “I don’t know what will happen in the race. We have a lot of cards to play. We have, I think, the strongest team, so it will be just whatever happens, but I would be happy if it came to a sprint.”
Asked how the team’s strategy might play out given a four-rider team isn’t conducive to sacrificing riders for a leadout, Olds was hesitant to reveal the team’s tactics.
“We haven’t discussed the tactics yet, and even if we had, I don’t want to put that out there,” Olds said. “We’re all world-class riders. Everyone on this team has shown they can win. We’re not afraid of any situation. We’re ready for a breakaway, for a field sprint, for a small group sprint or a big group sprint. Most importantly, we’re confident that if we ride as a team, we can come away with the gold medal.”
Miller added that he believes the women’s race could end up being aggressive because of its relatively easy course.
“For us, all things even, we’d prefer to start further out on the course, do more laps on Box Hill, and have a much tougher race,” Miller said. “A lot of times with the women’s peloton, when you have a really tough-looking course, everyone holds back. When they have a relatively straightforward course, they ride a lot more aggressive. I actually think we might have a much more aggressive race from the women’s field than we would have if there were more laps on Box Hill. I think there’s a fair chance that the women’s race won’t come down to a field sprint. In the women’s race you have five teams of four, after that you have teams of three and two and one. If you get the right mix, there’s no one left to chase.”
Earlier this month, she was interviewed by The Daily Peloton, a professional cycling publication.