Knibbs resigns spot on US cycling team for Paris Olympics road race, Faulkner replaces her

Taylor Knibb resigned her position on the U.S. cycling team for the road race at the Paris Olympics on Tuesday and will be replaced by Kristen Faulkner, who already had been picked to compete with the American pursuit squad in the velodrome.

The decision by Knibb was not entirely surprising. Her speciality is the triathlon, and the two-time defending women’s Ironman 70.3 world champion long has planned to compete in that event at her second consecutive Summer Games.

The 26-year-old from Washington, D.C., was the surprising winner of the U.S. time trial championship earlier this year, earning an automatic spot alongside Chloe Dygert in the Olympic road race and time trial. But given her relative lack of experience in a peloton, and the demands of her multisport schedule, Knibb opted to back away from the Aug. 4 road race.

Knibb still plans to compete in the time trial on July 27, the day after the opening ceremony. That would give her three days to recover before competing in the July 31 triathlon, an event in which finished 16th at the Tokyo Olympics.

Last week, the organizing committee for the Paris Olympics unveiled backup plans for triathlon and marathon swimming if they are unable to be contested in the Seine River, where unsafe levels of E. coli were detected in recent weeks. One option would be to push back the events, which could throw Knibb’s carefully crafted multisport schedule into chaos.

In a worst-case scenario, organizers said the triathlon could become a duathlon with swimming eliminated from the event.

Faulkner, the reigning U.S. road race champion, certainly has the ability to compete for a medal in the event. The 31-year-old from Alaska has won three Grand Tour stages over the past two years, including a stage at La Vuelta Feminina in May.

Dygert plans to compete in the road race and time trial, where the reigning world champion is favored to win gold, before she switches to the velodrome and joins the pursuit team. Their heat races are Aug. 6, with medal rounds the next day.


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