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Former Winter Park ski racer nominated to Olympic bicycling team

Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News
File photoMiddle Park High graduate Alison Powers has been nominated to the U.S. Olympic bicycle racing team. She has raced competitively for only two years.
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Alison Powers’ short but remarkable career as a professional bicycle racer has now gotten even more incredible with the announcement that she has been nominated for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Cycling Long Team.

Powers, who grew up in Winter Park and graduated from Middle Park High School, was one of 35 athletes who are eligible to represent the United States during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in the disciplines of mountain bike, track cycling and women’s road cycling. The announcement was made by USA Cycling on Tuesday.

The selection of Powers is what USA Cycling describes as a “discretionary nomination” for the women’s road cycling team. Powers, who now lives in Boulder, and Kori Seehafer of Louisville, were the two discretionary nominees to that team.

Powers’ nomination was based upon her 2007 season results. Last year was her first year as a professional cyclist racing at the international level.

Powers finished the 2007 season ranked 103rd in the world. Some of her top results included winning a gold medal in the Pan American Championships’ time trial in Venezuela, taking third place in the Memorial Davide Fardelli Time Trial in Italy and a seventh-place overall finish at Le Grand Tour du Montreal.

Five other women road cyclists met the criteria for an automatic nomination to the Long Team. These included Kristin Armstrong, who won the silver medal in the time trial at the 2007 UCI World Championships in Germany. The four other automatic nominees had also earned high rankings in international competition.

The official selection of those athletes who will become U.S. Olympians will take place later this year. They will be competing in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, China, from Aug. 8-24.

Powers’ rise to an Olympic nomination after only one year as a professional cyclist is made even more remarkable after it is realized that she had never competed in bicycle racing until just two years ago. For years, all of her athletic ambitions had been focused on alpine ski racing.

Beginning as a teenager, she trained and raced with the Winter Park Competition Center’s ski team. Selected by the U.S. Ski Team in 1997, she launched herself into a ski racing career after graduating Middle Park High in 1998.

A ski racing accident in 2001 injured her knee, but Powers continued with the U.S. Ski Team until she finally called it quits in 2004. Believing her competitive days were over, Powers moved to Vermont to become a ski coach and began biking for exercise and recreation.

On a whim during the spring of 2005, she entered her first cycling road race in Vermont as a novice, but to her surprise discovered she had a real talent for the sport. She was soon winning races and advancing up the racing categories.

Moving back to Colorado at the end of that summer to become a ski coach in Steamboat Springs, Powers continued to improve her results and joined a Boulder-based cycling team. With the team’s sponsorship, she broke into the CAT 1 division, which is the elite level of women’s bicycle racing and ended the 2006 racing season ranked fifth in the nation.

Thanks to those results, Powers signed a professional contract with Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, a women’s professional cycling team based in Madison, Wisc.

Powers is returning to the international racing circuit for her second year of professional cycling this February. She is scheduled to travel to Australia and New Zealand with the Colavita/Sutter Home team for the opening races of the season.


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