Catlin ‘not the Kelly we knew’ after accidents

Kelly Catlin

Catlin won seven major medals in the last three years

The family of three-time world champion cyclist Kelly Catlin, who died aged 23 last week, say she had changed after crashing her bike last year.

They believe she took her own life as a consequence of two accidents.

Catlin broke her arm last October, which was followed by a crash in December in which she sustained concussion, her family have told The Washington Post.

“She was not the Kelly that we knew,” her father Mark Catlin said.

“She spoke like a robot. We could get her to talk, but we wondered, ‘what has happened to our Kelly?’,” he added.

Catlin won three successive team pursuit world titles and an Olympic silver for the US team and also individual pursuit bronze at both the 2017 and 2018 World Track Championships.

She won all three of her world titles alongside Chloe Dygert Owen and Jennifer Valente, while Kimberly Geist was part of the 2017 and 2018 triumphs after Sarah Hammer rode in 2016.

Catlin, who was born in Saint Paul and was one of a set of triplets, graduated from the University of Minnesota last year with degrees in mathematics and Chinese and was studying computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford University in California.

Her father said that she attempted suicide in January, before ending her life last week.

“For her, she could no longer concentrate on her studies or train as hard. She couldn’t fulfill what she felt were her obligations to herself, she couldn’t live up to her own standards.”

Catlin’s sister, Christine, said her sibling had also complained of headaches and light sensitivity, and had written in an email that “her thoughts were racing all the time”.

Her brother, Colin, added: “Just a week or two ago, we were making plans and I was optimistic about her future.”

In a recent blog for the website, Catlin had written that she sometimes felt as if she needed “to time-travel to get everything done. And things still slip through the cracks.

“It’s like juggling with knives, but I really am dropping a lot of them. It’s just that most of them hit the floor and not me.”

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Kelly Catlin: Three-time world track champion dies aged 23

USA women's team pursuit squad (from left to right) Kelly Catlin, Chloe Dygert Owen, Kimberly Geist and Jennifer Valente hold up their gold medals after victory at the 2018 World Championships

Kelly Catlin (left) won three straight world titles as part of the USA women’s team pursuit squad

Three-time world champion and Olympic silver medallist Kelly Catlin has died aged 23, USA Cycling has confirmed.

Catlin won three straight team pursuit world titles on the track from 2016 to 2018, claiming silver in the same event at the Rio 2016 Games.

She competed for Rally UHC Cycling on the road and was studying for a graduate degree at Stanford University.

“We are deeply saddened by Kelly’s passing,” said USA Cycling president and chief executive Rob DeMartini.

In a letter to VeloNews Catlin’s father Mark said that his daughter had taken her own life.

“We will all miss her dearly,” added DeMartini. “Kelly was more than an athlete to us and she will always be part of the USA Cycling family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Catlin family. This is an incredibly difficult time and we want to respect their privacy.

“The entire cycling community is mourning this immense loss. We are offering continuous support to Kelly’s team-mates, coaches and staff. We also encourage all those who knew Kelly to support each other through the grieving.”

Catlin also won individual pursuit bronze at both the 2017 and 2018 World Track Championships.

She won all three of her world titles alongside Chloe Dygert Owen and Jennifer Valente, while Kimberley Geist was part of the 2017 and 2018 triumphs after Sarah Hammer rode in 2016.

Catlin, who was born in Saint Paul, graduated from the University of Minnesota last year with degrees in mathematics and Chinese and was studying computational and mathematical engineering at Stanford University in California.

“The news of Kelly’s passing has hit the team hard,” said Rally UHC Cycling in a statement on social media.

“Losing an incredible person at such a young age is very difficult.

“Kelly was our friend and team-mate. Our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and those who were fortunate enough to know her best.”

Chloe Dygert Owen, who was in the same team for all three of Catlin’s world titles, posted on social media: “We will miss you forever. Rest in peace now, Kelly.”

Three-time Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong also posted: “This is a devastating loss. We need to continue to look after our cycling family. RIP Kelly. I’ll always remember your sense of humour, wit and kindness.”

In a piece Catlin wrote two weeks before her death, she described the stress of working as a pro racer while studying in university as similar to “juggling knives”.

“Being a graduate student, track cyclist, and professional road cyclist can instead feel like I need to time-travel to get everything done. And things still slip through the cracks,” she wrote.

“So how do I balance three competing (no pun intended) careers?

“Easy. I don’t balance them.”

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Katie Archibald says new Tour of Scotland can inspire women

Katie Archibald

Archibald is relishing the chance to compete in a UCI stage race in Scotland

Olympic champion Katie Archibald hopes the inaugural Women’s Tour of Scotland will inspire more women and children to start cycling.

August’s event is the first to be introduced before a male equivalent and will also offer parity of prize money.

Despite the tour clashing with the European Championships, event ambassador Archibald has opted to race on home soil.

“There’s a huge significance that it’s a standalone women’s event,” she said.

“I’m proud to be attached to it and hopefully events like this say to young girls that they can get on a bike, and to women that ‘this world is ours, we’re competitive and we can race just as hard as the men’.”

The three-stage race, which will take place from 9-11 August, is 350km in length and will stretch across Dundee, Dunfermline, Perth, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Milngavie native Archibald, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics as part of the team pursuit quartet, is looking forward to racing competitively in Scotland.

“It should really give a chance to showcase Scotland and some gorgeous scenery,” she said. “Most years I end up missing the Scotland National Road Race so it will be a privilege to be on these roads.

“There are lots of nice moments that may not be globally iconic but to me will feel very special.”


‘I was riding like an idiot’

Archibald’s next race comes in Manchester in three weeks’ time, as she attempts to bounce back from disappointment at the Track Cycling World Championships in Poland.

The 24-year-old was ruled out of defending her Madison world title after being concussed while crashing in the Omnium.

“I’m pretty dejected,” she said. “I’d spent the last 12 months targeting the defence of the Madison world title and obviously I wasn’t on the start line there.

“Beyond the concussion, the way that I had been riding the day before really did put in question of what I was capable of. I don’t know what had gone wrong with me, I was riding like an idiot.”

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Annemiek van Vleuten secures Strade Bianche win in Italy

Annemiek van Vleuten

Van Vleuten suffered a serious crash to the 2016 Olympics in Rio during the women’s road race

Dutchwoman Annemiek van Vleuten won the Strade Bianche one-day race in Italy for her first victory since injuring a knee at the 2018 World Championships.

The 36-year-old two-time world time trial champion made a solo breakaway on the final gravel sector near Siena and maintained her advantage to win.

In the men’s race, Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Julian Alaphilippe became the first Frenchman to win the event.

Reigning Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas finished in 12th place.

“I thought it was maybe a bit too early as I’ve just had 10 weeks of training after I broke my knee,” Van Vleuten said.

“But I worked very hard because the race was on my wish list to win.”

Van Vleuten, who fractured her spine when she crashed while leading the Olympic road race in 2016, was part of a group of 11 riders to break clear late on before she made her move over a steep climb and opened up a gap of 40 seconds, which the chasing peloton failed to close down.

“I just waited for a good moment [to attack],” she added. “There was only one team-mate with me, only Lucy Kennedy, and it was really good for us to be there together but we were a bit outnumbered.

“We were only two in a big group so we had to play poker a bit, then I thought I had to put the hammer down on the uphill.”

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Porn workers cycling club loses British Cycling affiliation

Club loses British Cycling affliation

Porn Pedallers Cycling Club was set up two years ago by Chris Ratcliff and has 100 members

A cycling club made up of adult entertainment workers has lost its British Cycling affiliation – after the governing body said its name might damage the sport’s image.

PPCC, which stands for Porn Pedallers Cycling Club, raises money and awareness for sexual health charities.

“We are what we are and proud of what we do,” founder Chris Ratcliff said.

British Cycling said it was offering “constructive advice” to the club to help it meet regulations.

Ratcliff, who is the chief executive of an adult television company and set up the cycling club for its employees, says he cannot see how it is “at odds” with the UCI regulations which British Cycling are bound by.

The club, which Ratcliff says has 100 paid-up members and is continuing to grow, was formed two years ago and given British Cycling affiliation.

He says he was told the group did not meet the criteria when they applied to renew their affiliation for a third year.

The UCI regulation says pornographic products, along with tobacco or spirits, that “might damage the image of the UCI or of cycling in general” cannot be associated “directly or indirectly” with a licence-holder, team or a national or international cycling competition.

“It is an overreaction. We understand our moniker doesn’t stand in all social situations, so where appropriate in a public context we are PPCC,” Ratcliff told BBC Sport.

“We appreciate that porn isn’t for everybody so we don’t shove it in people’s faces, but this is first and foremost about cycling.

“What I can’t understand about British Cycling is they want more people riding, we want to put bums on bikes, so we have a common objective.”

The club raises about £10,000 annually for HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust.

British Cycling acknowledged the club “does excellent work in raising money for charity and has a loyal and active membership”.

Ratcliff said he appreciated British Cycling had “offered an olive branch” but believes their demands will damage the group’s future.

“Their concessions are changing the name of the club and removing the sponsors – that erases our identity,” he added.

“We are proud of what we do, not least because of the work we’re doing for the Terrence Higgins Trust, raising money for better sexual health and fighting the stigma of HIV.

“Why can’t we take that out to a broad audience and do that with the backing of British Cycling?”

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