Cycling update – COVID-19 woes, quarantine fitness, Chloé Dygert Owen dominance

Most, but not all cyclists quarantined on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi have been released after testing negative for COVID-19. However, a few teams remain and some of them are not happy. At all.

Nathan Peter Haas, who I’ve followed on Twitter for years, put together a pretty funny video, trying to make the best of it.

Credit to The Peloton Brief for this post.

In other cool news, Chloé Dygert Owen, featured here before, has won several gold medals in the Track Worlds, including a world record in the Individual Pursuit and the Women’s Team Pursuit.

Swimming sport spotlight

Swimming tickets are a hard ticket to get, or at least it seemed so, and the price indicates they are popular. We managed to get tickets to session TOSWM04. There are 15 sessions of swimming, starting from July 25 through August 2. The events we will see in our session are:

  • Women’s 100m Butterfly Final and Victory Ceremony
  • Men’s 200m Freestyle Semifinals
  • Women’s 100m Breaststroke Semifinals
  • Men’s 100m Breaststroke Final and Victory Ceremony
  • Women’s 400m Freestyle Final and Victory Ceremony
  • Men’s 100m Backstroke Semifinals
  • Women’s 100m Backstroke Semifinals
  • Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay Final and Victory Ceremony

These events are finals and semifinals, so they will be highly competitive.

And, once again, one of the Purdue University spotlighted swimmers could be featured in the Women’s 400m Freestyle final, Kaersten Meitz. The US Olympic Team Trials are June 21 through June 28. In the 2019 World Rankings for LCM (50 m pool), Kaersten Meitz was 11th, with Katie Ledecky second ranked in the world and the highest American. Just behind was Leah Smith at number three. The top ranked in the Women’s 400m Freestyle is Ariarne Titmus of Australia.

The top performer in 2019 in the Women’s 100m Butterfly is Canadian Margaret McNeil, with Americans Kelsi Dahlia and Katie McLaughlin in the top ten.

Last year there were no Americans in the top ten Men’s 200m Freestyle. However, Japan’s Katsuhiro Matsumoto was the fifth highest ranked swimmer so if he makes the finals the crowd will be crazy. American Andrew Seliskar is just outside the top ten.

Lilly King (from Evansville, Indiana and an IU grad) is the reigning world champion at the Women’s 100m Breaststroke, Annie Lazor had the third best time of the year, and Japan’s Reona Aoki had the fourth best time. More crazy fans likely for this event as well.

In the World Championships last year, Adam Peaty of Great Britian set the Men’s 100m Breaststroke world record, fellow countryman James Wilby (not this James Wilby) had the third fastest time of the year, Yasuhiro Koseki had the eighth fastest time, and American Andrew Wilson had the ninth fastest. Yet another chance to see a Japanese swimmer get a home country boost.

China’s Jiayu Xu had the top time in the 100m Backstroke, and three Americans, Ryan Murphy (not Indianapolis’ Ryan Murphy of “Glee” fame), Shaine Casas, and Matt Grevers were all in the top ten as well as Japan’s Ryosuke Irie.

The Women’s 100m backstroke top time of 2019 is held by American’s Regan Smith, who set a world record at the 2019 World Championships and will graduate from high school THIS YEAR. Three other Americans, Phoebe Bacon (another high schooler), Olivia Smoliga, and Kathleen Baker are also in the top 10.

Finally, the USA had the fastest Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay, followed by Russia and Australia. Japan was tenth.

Note to USA Swimming – hire a professional photographer to do your bio shots. Preferably someone who knows how to use the “focus” feature.

One swimmer we won’t be seeing in the Men’s 200m Freestyle event is Sun Yang. He was banned for eight years for his second doping violation.

Athlete spotlight – Chloé Dygert – women’s cycling

The current World Champion in the individual time trial is Indiana’s own Chloé Dygert. She grew up in Brownsburg and went to Marian College and she kicks ass. She’s also a Rio Olympics medalist at age 19 in team pursuit.

The US has two entries in the individual time trial.

You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or check out her website.

She is also married to Logan Owen, who is a professional rider on the EF Education First. He got his start in BMX, moved to cyclocross, and then moved to road racing. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

The women’s time trial runs over the same course as the men, but unfortunately only completes one lap instead of the two for the men.

She hopes to race track, road, and time trial at the 2020 Olympics.

source –

She hopes to race track, road, and time trial at the 2020 Olympics.

Sport spotlight – women’s road cycling

For some reason, women’s cycling is treated differently then men’s cycling. A marathon is a marathon, right? An Ironman Triathlon doesn’t have different rules for women. Unfortunately, for reasons that I don’t fully understand, women’s road cycling has different courses than the men – usually shorter with less climbing.

The Tokyo 2020 course for women is 137 kilometers with 2692 meters in climbing compared to the men’s course of 234 kilometers and 4865 meters. Here’s a great article describing the controversy and a side by side comparison for that article.

source –

The full route doesn’t have as much climbing as the men’s race which can eliminate some of the differentiation between riders and make the run in to the finish very hard.

source –

The US women’s team has four riders able to participate in the road event.

No countries have five on their roster, and the teams with four are:






The breakdown from other countries can be found here

As the countries make their team selections, more will be posted.

Sports spotlight – volleyball

Some of the matchups for some of the events are starting to come out. When we bought tickets, we chose events like “Volleyball – Men’s Preliminary Round (2 matches).” There was no guarantee what teams we would see, or if the matches would even be close. Our tickets for volleyball are on July 31, from 9:00 am to 12:50 pm. Early morning for sure. The other day the volleyball schedule came out. What’s happening in the morning of July 31?

Looking at the official schedule …

source –

Looking specifically at volleyball,

Source –

We get to see two North American teams versus two South American teams, and we get to see the US play against Brazil.

The top ten in the world rankings in men’s volleyball show Brazil as number one, the US as number 3, and Canada as number 10. It should be an excellent match between the US and Brazil and could be a preview of the finals.

Source –


Source –

For the Olympics, in both men’s and women’s volleyball, there are only twelve teams competing. They are divided in two pools, each with six teams. The top four teams of each pool then advance to the quarterfinals. Interestingly, only four out of twelve teams do not advance to the single elimination tournament.  The way the semi-finals are arranged, the top two teams in a single group could meet again in the semifinals.

Source –
source –

The pools are ordered by number of victories, then by ranking points, then by set ratio, then by points ratio. Three points are given to the match victor if they win by a 3-0 set score, or a 3-1 set score. If they win by a 3-2 set score, the winner gets two points and the loser gets one point. If there is a tie in the ranking points, the next order is set ratio, where the ratio of sets won to sets lost breaks a tie. If there is still at tie, the ratio if points won to point lost sets the order. If there is a STILL a tie, then, “the priority will be given to the team which won the last match between them. When the tie in points ratio is between three or more teams, a new classification of these teams in the terms of points 1, 2 and 3 will be made taking into consideration only the matches in which they were opposed to each other.”

Follow along with the international federation on their Tokyo 2020 website

Qualification for the Olympics began in August 2019, when the top 24 teams in the world participated in six intercontinental qualification tournaments in six pools across the globe. The six winners of each pool qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Games. In January of this year, five continental qualification tournaments were held, and the winner of each of those tournaments filled the twelve team qualification pool. Japan, as the host, automatically qualified.

The men’s qualification path was …

source –

We also have tickets to a men’s semifinal match and the men’s finals.

Potential Purdue athletes

My connection to Purdue University runs deep, so it is exciting to me that several athletes from Purdue have a chance at participating in the Summer Games this year.

I think it is great that Robbie Hummel has a good chance to be there. His playing career in college and the pros was greatly impacted by injury and he began a career as a broadcaster. He’s good at that too. Then he started playing 3×3 basketball and was last year’s USA Men’s Basketball player of the year. How cool is that for him?

David Boudia was a diver at Purdue, and rose to fame as a 10 meter platform diver. Injuries drove him to stop 10 m platform diving and instead compete in 3 m springboard diving this year. He won the gold medal in the 2012 London Games and the bronze in the 2016 Rio Games. That’s quite an accomplishment. Oh, and he also got silver with fellow Purdue diver Steele Johnson in the 10 m synchronized diving in Rio in 2016.

Not sure why Steele was left off this list. Maybe only a few athletes are being spotlighted.

For sure I’ll follow all the athlete’s journeys as the run up to the 2020 Summer Olympics continues

USA women’s soccer qualifies

As the reigning World Cup Champions and the dominant team right now in women’s soccer, there was little doubt that the USA women’s team would qualify. However, one of the interesting things about sport is you still have to play the games to win, and anything can happen.

What happened? The USA women scored a total 25 goals in 5 matches, compared to zero from their opponents. They beat Mexico 4 – 0 in the semifinals to officially qualify, and then beat Canada 3 – 0 in the finals to win the tournament.

Let’s hope they continue their winning ways and we get to see them in the finals in Tokyo.

CONCACAF Women’s Olympics Qualification

The field is set for the elimination rounds of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympics Qualification. The US won the Group A pool by going undefeated, scoring 18 goals in three matches and holding their opponents scoreless. Costa Rica finished second, losing only to the US. Canada won Group B, scoring a whooping 22 goals and also holding their opponents scoreless. Mexico finished second, losing one match.

The semifinals will be USA versus Mexico, and Canada versus Costa Rica. The winners of the semifinals will be the CONCACAF qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 games. LA folks, you can go to this tournament at the Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly StubHub Center formerly Home Depot Center) in Carson.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $250 for both semifinals matches on February 7, and then again $25 to $250 for the finals match on February 9.

Sport spotlight – men’s cycling

People that know me know I’m a big fan of cycling. Here’s a picture of me in the Tour de France King of the Mountain jersey in 2000.

2000 California AIDS Ride, Day 4

Pretty cool, huh? Context is important though, because that is a replica jersey bought in Verdun, France in 1993 (another time living in Luxembourg …) when a stage finished there. This picture was during the 2000 AIDS Ride and I wore the jersey because it was the hilliest day.

Interestingly, in 1993 in Verdun, some brash 21 year old American in the US champion’s Stars and Stripes jersey won his first ever stage of the Tour de France. His name was Lance Armstrong. I was so excited, an avid cyclist and American with an American winning the stage. Then he had his post-race interview, and it was unpolished and rude, and I was embarrassed. From that day, I had a love/hate relationship with him.

Watch this long video with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, and look at the lineup of dopers! There is also a bit of a Verdun history lesson as well.

Lance didn’t win the Tour that year, and he wasn’t considered a GC rider at that time, but his time would come. His post race interview with Paul was pretty calculated. Lance certainly understood cycling even early in his career as that same year he went on to win the World Championship.

We have tickets to the Men’s Road Cycling event, which ends at Fuji International Speedway (the Japanese site is much more interesting). The course takes the cyclists from Tokyo, over some mountains (Doshi Road / Yamabushi Tunnel), over the 1451 m (4760 ft) Fuji Sanroku, a pass through the speedway, a run around Lake Yamanakako, back through the speedway, then onto the very steep Mikuni Pass followed by the Kagosaka pass, before descending and returning to the speedway for the finish. Cycling is a hard sport to watch, and probably best enjoyed watching the highlights. Flag to flag coverage can get a little boring. I’m not sure what the experience will be at the Olympics, but I am hoping they have lots of big screens so we can watch how the race unfolds. Otherwise we’ll just be sitting in the hot July weather, roasting until the leader or leaders approach the finish. There’s no way though that I wouldn’t try to be there. In my fandom, I’ve ridden the 1984 Olympic course in Mission Viejo.

Note that the route to Fuji Sanroku takes you on the roads that will get you to the Yamanashi 5th Station for climbing Mt. Fuji. Here’s my adventure from that starting point back in 2009. If you are following this blog, the Mt Fuji story is definitely worth reading.

The course and the profile for Tokyo 2020 are below.



People unfamiliar with cycling think it is an individual sport, but really it is a team sport. Typically a rider is designated as the team leader, and all the other cyclists in some form or another protect that leader physically and tactically throughout the race. That’s why it is important for nations to have the largest number of qualifiers possible. The maximum number is five, and unfortunately the US only has two. There are a total of 130 riders in the men’s event. Here’s the complete list of rider allocation per country. It is too long to list here.

Countries with five riders are:







Countries with four riders are:



Great Britain





The qualifications are based on that country’s points according to the international governing body (UC).

The US determines its team either through an automated spot through meeting certain criteria, or by a selection committee.

Although I don’t have tickets to the women’s event, I’ll cover that separately as there are differences between the men’s and women’s events, and the US women are performing much better on the world stage than the US men.

Sport spotlight – Soccer

Soccer, or football to the rest of the world, doesn’t seem like it needs a spotlight. However, I have lots of questions including how qualification is determined and how do national federations choose who will represent their countries. We have tickets to two men’s preliminary matches, two women’s preliminary matches, and one of the women’s semi-finals.

As an interesting aside, the 1994 Men’s World Cup  was held in the US, and I was lucky enough to attend two matches at the Rose Bowl. I can remember seeing Romania versus Colombia, and the star Colombian player, Carlos Valderrama had some very crazy hair. Reading about that game again, I also now remember Gheorghe Hagi from Romania and his 35 yard goal. Then, I was able to see a semi-final match between Brazil and Sweden. I had to do some research to remember the Brazilian star was Romário, but I know the name of the Swedish goalie was Thomas Ravelli. The guy who lined up our tickets for that event might be reading this blog – thanks Harvey!

Sadly, the Columbian defender Andrés Escobar was killed after returning to Colombia, allegedly as a result of an own goal he scored against the United States.

The Men’s World Cup is coming BACK to North America in 2026. I hope I can get tickets to matches in LA in this soccer crazy town.


For the Olympics, men’s and women’s team are represented differently. For the men, the under 23 or below U-23 teams are allowed to participate. There are no age limits for women’s teams.

According to the Regulations for the Olympic Football Tournaments: Tokyo 2020

  1. The draw for the final competitions shall take place in principle at least three months prior to the opening match of the final competition.
  2. FIFA shall form groups for the final competition by seeding and drawing lots in public whilst taking sporting and geographical factors into consideration, as far as possible.

The men’s pool will consist of four Groups, with four teams each. The teams ranked first and second in each group qualify for the quarterfinals. The points scoring in each group is typical of FIFA matches with three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss. The tie break criteria are defined in the FIFA Regulations for the Olympic Football Tournaments: Tokyo 2020

The women’s pool will only have three groups with four teams each. Like the men, the teams ranked first and second in each group qualify for the quarter finals. The remaining two places are filled by the two best third place finishers as determined by:

a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;

b) goal difference resulting from all group matches;

c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches;

d) highest team conduct score relating to the number of yellow and red cards obtained in all group matches and calculated as per step 2 (g) above;

e) drawing of lots by FIFA.

On the men’s side, 16 teams will compete. The allocation is three African nations (U-23); three Asian nations plus Japan (U-23); four European nations (U-21); two from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean; one from Oceania; and two from South America. The North America, Central America and Caribbean entries will be determined in a tournament from March 20 to April 1. The South America entries will be known following their tournament January 19 to February 9.

The men’s teams currently in the field are:

Côte d’Ivoire

South Africa




Korea Republic

Saudi Arabia





New Zealand

Follow the US Men’s U-23 Team as they prepare for earning the right to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.

On the women’s side, 12 teams will compete. The allocation is one position from Africa, plus the African runner up will participate in an international playoff against the runner up in the South America tournament. Asia will be represented by two teams along with host Japan, with matches on February 3 to February 9, leading to two matches to determine the final two teams. Europe is allocated three teams chosen by the top three European teams from France 2019. North, Central America, and the Caribbean will be represented by two teams determined by the outcome of the qualifying tournament from January 28 to February 9. South America will send one team, plus participate in the international playoff with Africa.

The women’s teams currently in the field are:


Great Britain

The Netherlands


New Zealand


Of course, as the reigning World Cup champions, there is a high likelihood the USA Women’s Team will qualify. On January 28, they beat Haiti 4-0 in their qualifying tournament. The knockout round is at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA, February 7 through February 9. Support the team and get tickets