Bentonville will become the official home of the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team as its members prepare for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the team announced this morning.
The national team will use Northwest Arkansas’ network of trails and gravel for endurance fitness camps as well as skills-development camps leading into the World Cup racing season. USA Cycling will also host mountain bike and road Junior Talent Identification and Skills Camps in Bentonville.
It’s all made possible by support from the Walton Family Foundation at the direction of Steuart and Tom Walton as well as the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation and the Penner Family Foundation.
Cycling officials called Bentonville the ideal launching pad for present-day and future riders.
“Our long-term goal is for Team USA to win the gold at the 2028 Summer Olympic Games,” said Brendan Quirk, CEO of USA Cycling, which is headquartered in Colorado Springs. “This investment gives us access to the infrastructure and resources we need to support our Under-23 and Junior riders. Developing these up-and-coming riders is a top priority for USA Cycling, now and in the future.”
The announcement demonstrates the growing success of the Walton Family Foundation, area cities and other partners’ shared quest to make Northwest Arkansas a premier cycling destination.
PeopleForBikes named Bentonville, Bella Vista and Fayetteville among the South’s 10 best biking communities in 2021, and the 2022 Walmart UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships descended on Fayetteville early this year. Bentonville’s Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Park and other rugged courses draw visitors from around the country and beyond.
“Northwest Arkansas’ incredible network of singletrack trails and gravel roads is the perfect training ground for the National Team,” Quirk said. “Our riders love racing and training in Northwest Arkansas. By deepening our presence here, we’ll make it easier for riders at all levels to get access to our racing development pathway and pursue their athletic goals.”
In addition to serving as the center for USA Cycling’s mountain bike operations, Bentonville will also become the national base for its collegiate cycling operations and other grassroots growth.
“Northwest Arkansas, which we affectionately call OZ, is becoming a cornerstone of the U.S. mountain bike racing scene,” said Steuart Walton. “When you add in world cyclo-cross events and epic gravel riding, you can see how the region is becoming more than a tourism destination. Our hometown is quickly becoming a global hub for both professional cyclists and emerging talent to develop to their fullest potential in the Mountain Biking Capital of the World.”
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