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Durango’s Carmen Small, Chris Blevins selected for USA team at world cycling championships

Durango’s Carmen Small, Chris Blevins selected

Taylor Phinney will get his opportunity to chase a world championship at home.

After a devastating crash nearly ruined his career, Phinney was part of the roster announced by USA Cycling on Friday that will compete this month in Richmond, Virginia.

Phinney returned to racing at the Tour of Utah, more than a year after colliding with a motorcycle during the national championships. He broke numerous bones and his racing future was in doubt, but he proved he still has speed by winning a stage at the USA Pro Challenge.

He’ll be joined in the men’s road race by Brent Bookwalter, Tyler Farrar, Alex Howes and Ben King. USA Cycling must select one more men’s rider to compete in the road race and time trial by the Sept. 11 deadline to complete world championship rosters.

The women’s team features Shelley Olds and Evie Stevens, both members of the 2012 Olympic team, along with Allie Dragoo, Megan Guarnier, Lauren Stephens, Tayler Wiles and Coryn Rivera.

Durango native Carmen Small and Stevens also will compete in the time trial along with Kristin Armstrong, the two-time and defending Olympic gold medalist in the discipline.

The U.S. is hosting the world championships for the first time since they were held in Colorado in 1986, giving the Americans an advantage. U.S. riders typically have to travel to Europe to compete in elite races, but this time the world will be traveling to them.

The results in Richmond will have much to say about who makes the U.S. team for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Having the worlds back in the U.S., it’s massive. It’s huge,” said Jim Miller, USA Cycling vice president. “Any time you can be world champion, it’s special, and really, when you go to the Olympics, and who can realistically podium and have a shot at those medals, you’re really looking at the history of world championship performance.”

One notable absence is Tejay van Garderen, the nation’s leading Grand Tour rider. He broke his shoulder in a crash in the Spanish Vuelta and was ruled out of competition.

The final roster spot likely will come down to reigning national champion Matt Busche, who has been battling injuries, the multi-faceted Andrew Talansky or Kiel Reijnen, who has proved over the past year he’s one of the country’s top sprinters.

While the American men will be considered dark horses in Richmond, the women will arrive with a target on their red, white and blue backs. Olds and Stevens offer experience, Guarnier and Wiles have had strong seasons and the 23-year-old Rivera is a rising star.

“It’s pretty amazing that worlds is going to be in the U.S,” Rivera said. “Most of the time Americans fly across the pond to do worlds there, races in Europe. Finally, everyone is coming to this side of the pond, getting a taste of jet lag and food and different things like that.”

Logan Owen, Tyler Williams, Colin Joyce, Daniel Eaton and Greg Daniel make up the under-23 men’s team, with Eaten and Daniel also competing in the time trial.

Durango’s Chris Blevins was chosen for the junior men’s team along with Jonny Brown, Adrien Costa, Jack Maddux, Brandon McNulty and Ethan Reynolds were chosen for the junior men’s team, while Chloe Dygert, Emma White, Skylar Schneider and Ashlyn Woods make up the junior women’s team. Costa, McNulty, Dygert and White will ride time trials.

“There’s a lot of young talent in the U.S. right now,” said Todd Gogulski, who captained the Americans during the 1986 worlds. “With the worlds being on home soil, a lot of that just comes to experience and being out of your element, and they’re going to be in their element.”

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