Do the American Women have a chance? Yes!
That’s what I told the editor at Cycling Weekly when I was asked to write an Esports Worlds prediction piece with the help of Dave Towle.
I wonder if he predicted the World Champion correctly at Richmond in 2015 when announcing the Peter Sagan fireworks while perched on Libby Hill. Dave Towle has become an esports cornerstone, with co-host Nathan Guerra announcing elite-level esports and community races for Zwift Community Live.
There’s no better man for the job of lending his passionate perspective as an American esports pundit.
Click the image above for that, but in the meantime, here’s equal billing for all the incredible esports athletes representing the US.
(Dix Hills, NY; Twenty 24) Zwift World Ranking—2
Kristen is a 41-year-old goldsmith and jewelry designer from Long Island, NY. A two-time qualifier, she placed in the top ten in 2020 and is motivated to redeem a disappointing performance in 2022.
“I feel like I have been preparing for this since Feb 27, 2022, and finally, it’s just a couple of weeks away!” she says.
Kristen faced unexpected stress leading into last year’s final and used the experience as motivation. “I have really enjoyed the training process, and I am proud of the shape I am in. I feel strong and ready, so I already feel in my head it’s a success and a personal victory. The race will be the sprinkles on the cupcake.”
Also hoping for a sweet outcome is teammate Jacqueline Godbe.
(St. Louis, MO; Saris-NoPinz)
Jacqueline is a 32-year-old radiology resident with a Ph.D. in chemistry. The reigning US National Esports Champion, she finished in the top ten in the world in 2020 and 2022.
Godbe is coming off a significant setback to her health and fitness. However, she doesn’t seem phased, saying, “This championship represents the culmination of a year of training, competition, and teamwork that has already been fun and helped me on my personal health journey. So that’s already a win. But I’ll still try to win more!”
Winning more and more often is a trait she shares with teammate Liz Van Houweling.
Liz Van Houweling
(Des Moines, IA; Saris-NoPinz) Zwift World Ranking—24
Liz is a 32-year-old cycling coach, personal trainer, and a full-time mom. A Zwift Academy Finalist who held the #1 ranking worldwide for several months in 2022, Liz was Team USA’s top finisher (fifth) in the 2022 final.
She’s assured, saying, “I’ve introduced a lot more structured training, so I feel like my fitness is better than ever. I’ve raced a lot in the past, so I know my race craft is good as well.”
Her new coach Alex Coh (Endurance Sport), is bringing six athletes to the Worlds and is confident, “Liz definitely has a chance to win. She is in a good place for a proper result in the Worlds, and I believe she should be considered one of the favorites to win it. Her game craft is among the best in the business, and her mental game is on point.”
Director Sportif—Jenn Real
Helping to keep the team on point is their Director Sportif Jenn Real, a physician from Fredericksburg, TX, who races for Saris-NoPinz.
“Team USA is in a great spot with multiple women who are legitimate podium contenders! We’ve got climbers, punchers, sprinters, and breakaway riders—something for every scenario that could play out. It will take racing smart and with a lot of heart. This new format is very exciting, and should make for some really great racing. We look forward to fighting it out in February!”
Rounding out the squad of elite Women for Team USA are:
(Issaquah, WA; Software Engineer; Electric Spirit Co.)
“I am amazed, honored, and extremely excited that I qualified to represent the US with some talented ladies. I look forward to doing what I can to put an American in the rainbow stripes.”
(Framingham, MA; Strength Coach; Saris-NoPinz)
“I represented Team USA at the 2011 World Championships and 2012 London Olympics in the 1500m. Running, like Zwifting, can sometimes feel like a lonely, individualistic sport, so being able to compete with other US women with a common goal will be a change I look forward to. I have really put an emphasis on racing now for enjoyment, so I am keeping that a priority during my training for the upcoming race!”
(Williamsburg, VA; AEONIAN)
Zwift World Ranking—46
Arielle Vehaaren is a 37-year-old former US Olympian who coaches for the USA Cycling Elite BMX program.
“I was lucky enough to represent team USA at the world championships in BMX from 2005 to 2013, and it’s always an honor to put that jersey on, but I find it incredibly special to be doing it in a completely different discipline ten years after leaving BMX.”
Good luck to all of the Team USA Women!
Any last-minute words of encouragement?
Comment below. I’m sure they’d love to know.
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!