The program only accepts 6 junior athletes ages 15-16 each summer and is a major part of USA Cycling’s development process. Brandon’s acceptance is a testament to how far he has developed as a competitive cyclist and a great honor for his team that he trains with, Rome Velo.
USA Cycling’s Summer Development camp selects 6 junior athletes to train and race in Belgium for 20 days. The athletes will compete in 4 single day races and a 4 day stage race, all against many of the top juniors in Europe.
Pruett and the other USA riders (2 from Idaho and 3 from California) will also benefit from immersion in a very structured program, learning what it’s like to essentially live like a Pro Cyclist, training and racing every day on the difficult roads of Europe. USA Cycling provides the riders with bikes and takes care of all the details, allowing the riders to focus all their energy on truly learning from the experience.
For a 16 year old boy, this is a truly unique experience that Pruett has worked very hard for. The trip is especially important as it will serve to bring him even more notice from national level cycling programs which can help to take him to the next level. USA Cycling is the governing body for all sanctioned racing in the US, and is also charged with developing and selecting athletes to represent the USA in Olympic Cycling events.
Pruett has been racing and training for about 3 years now and has rapidly developed to become one of the top amateur racers in the Southeast region. In 2011 he caught the attention of USA Cycling’s Development Coaches by capturing the Bronze at the Junior Nationals Road Race in Augusta GA. He demonstrated his continuing development with numerous podium finishes for the next year including 2 GA State Championship Titles this year (Criterium).
Pruett has been working with his local team of Rome Velo with both hard training rides and motor pacing. Former Professional racer and National Champion Tina Pic is Brandon’s coach and mentor now for several years with invaluable guidance and support. Of course many local riders especially members of the Coosa Valley Cycling Association contributed to help get Brandon to where he is. A number of CVCA members truly took his drive to heart and helped found the Brandon Pruett Cycling Fund to help with the expenses of both this trip and other National events. And of course all cyclists start the sport with support from a local bike shop. Cycle Therapy of Rome truly got behind the idea of a local rider achieving national success by encouraging Brandon to go to many
National competitions and become the best racer he can. When Pruett first started racing, about 3 years ago, he was in Cycle Therapy and one of the mechanics showed Brandon a magazine article about “Life at the house” It was an article on 15-16 year old kids in Belgium learning, living the European style of life and racing. He remarked to Brandon…one day you will be there!” And Brandon has been dreaming of that opportunity since and now that day has come.
Pruett continues to play an integral role as a top member of Rome Velo at races throughout the Southeast. Pruett will return in time to assist his team mates for the River Gorge Omnium on August 25-26. The event is very popular in the Southeast and features a downtown Criterium in the heart of Chattanooga plus a very difficult mountain top finish road race atop Raccoon Mountain TN.
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