2024 Paris Olympics: Kristen Faulkner Misses TT Spot, Shifts Gears to Track Cycling

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2024 Paris Olympics: Faulkner Misses TT SpotAlex Broadway - Getty Images

After finishing second in the 2024 USA National Time Trial championships, thus missing out on an automatic Olympic bid by one spot, EF Education-Cannondale’s Kristen Faulkner has turned her focus to the velodrome in an effort to keep her Olympic dream alive.

The thirty-one-year-old Alaskan crossed the line eleven seconds behind triathlete Taylor Knibbin—a triathlete and the 2022 and 2023 Women’s Ironman 70.3 World Champion—last Wednesday’s time trial. The win means Knibb will join current time trial world champion Chloé Dygert, representing the U.S. in Paris.

Typically, Knibb would also ride for the U.S. in the road race as well. However, Knibb’s near-total lack of road racing experience (she’s never competed in an international road race event) means Team USA might look elsewhere to find Dygert’s teammate for the road race.

Declining a role in the road race could also fall to Knibb, who, according to Team USA’s Cycling Chief of Sports Performance Jim Miller, could opt out of the race in order to focus on her other events: the individual and mixed relay triathlons.

After winning the national road race title in Charleston, West Virginia, on Sunday, Faulkner said, “I’d like to go for either track or roads. So just one thing at a time right now.”

Like Knibb in a road race, Faulkner has little experience in track racing. However, she has spent the last several months working on the track, trying to sharpen her skills enough to compete in the Olympic Games. At the end of May, Faulkner will attend a track camp in Belgium, and then the final selections for the USA squad will be made.

“I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. This season, my kind of sub-five-minute power has really been my strength, and I think that comes across in the team pursuit effort. I also spent a lot of time on my TT bike this year, which really helps with team pursuit, and so I feel like it really plays to my strengths, and I’m just getting better and better,” she added.

In February, she competed in the team pursuit event at the Nations Cup in Adelaide, Australia, alongside Lily Williams, Olivia Cummins, and Olympic gold medalist Jen Valente. The team finished fifth in the event. “It went really well,” Faulkner said of the Nations Cup performance. “It wasn’t all of the members that might go to Paris, because it was some were missing because of injury and stuff, but there were definitely people there who are likely to be on the final team.”

The 2024 Summer Olympics start on Wednesday, July 24. Qualifying for the women’s team pursuit starts on Tuesday, August 6. The second round and medal finals are the following afternoon, Wednesday, August 7.

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