The A-Team

Geneviève Jeanson, Lachine, Quebec, September 2001     Photo: Derek Shapton

Geneviève Jeanson

[ROAD WARRIOR]

Jeanson has been raising bike-world eyebrows ever since she won an unprecedented two titles—both the time trial and the road race—at the 1999 World Junior Championships in Treviso, Italy. In her first pro season the following year, the wiry prodigy from Lachine, Quebec, dominated two major races—Australia's six-day, 294-mile Tour de Snowy and Belgium's storied Fleche Wallonne—plus over a dozen smaller events in the U.S. and Canada, often in times rivaling the leaders of the men's fields. This summer, at the Montreal World Cup, she blew away the biggest names in women's cycling, including World Cup points leader Anna Millward and three-time Tour de France winner Jeannie Longo, by more than seven minutes. "Geneviève is the most exciting prospect in women's cycling, with awesome ability and potential," says Jeff Jones, editor of the popular bike-racing Internet site cyclingnews.com. "She's lightweight and climbs hills extremely well. She also time trials well, making her a formidable stage racer, and she's very aggressive. She'll attack at any opportunity." Did we mention she's only 20?—Rob Buchanan

Roland Green

[HAMMERHEAD]

The Case: Here is just a smattering of Green's accomplishments over the 2001 season: NORBA short-track cross-country champion; NORBA cross-country champion; overall World Cup champion; winner, World Championships. This is no Cinderella story—Green's been racing bikes for 11 years, mountain bikes for six—but despite some strong results, nobody would have picked the 162-pound racer to overpower a sport that's been ruled by 140-pound climbing specialists built like jockeys with bulbous quads. What's more, he's from Canada, and everyone knows that since the days of Ned Overend and John Tomac, North American males haven't won squat in the sport they invented. So does Green represent a Great White Northern hope for riders of average build? Nah. "It's all about the motor," says Green, 27, who recently had his motor checked by a sports physiologist. "My lungs are one and a half times the normal size, and I have a heart that's double the size of someone my height." So, he's a freak. But at least (and note how quickly we adopt Canadian stars as our own) he's our freak.

Second Opinion: Training partner and fellow Canadian racer Ryder Hesjedal: "For a lot of years we just sat around saying, 'The Europeans are great, and wouldn't it be nice to get on the podium?' Last year Roland said he wanted to be the best, and he just went out and did it."

His Secret in the Slick Stuff: To remain as mud-free as possible at particularly quaggy events, Green coats his bike with Pam nonstick spray.

Next Big Thing: The road. After winning the prologue and the time trial at last Spring's Redlands Classic, a prestigious road race in California, Green has his eye on more time trials.—Marc Peruzzi

Chris Carmichael

[ULTIMATE COACH]

The Case: Chris Carmichael's training philosophy—equal parts sports science and touchy-feely sensitivity—has helped swimmer Ed Moses triumph at the 2000 summer Olympics, triathlete Peter Reid dust the field at the 2000 Hawaii Ironman, and that other guy, Lance Armstrong, morph from a raw talent to a three-time Tour de France champion. Whence cometh Carmichael's gold-medal touch? Even as he carefully measures miles pedaled and watts produced, he scrutinizes his athletes' mental health—happiness, stress level, and, above all, enthusiasm—and is quick to scale back training at the first sign of trouble. When Armstrong hit an emotional wall during his 1998 post-cancer comeback and almost quit racing altogether, Carmichael, a former pro himself, determined that the Texan was simply training too hard. By shortening the periods of intensity, he allowed Armstrong to regain his enthusiasm while building up his subthreshold aerobic fitness. The rest is now cycling history. "You have to leverage each success," says Carmichael. "You say, 'Look what you've done. You didn't think you could do it, but you could. Now, let's set the bar a little higher.'"

Second Opinion: "Chris broke his leg once, and for most pros, that would have been traumatic, but he was able to adapt and come back even stronger," says VeloNews editor John Wilcockson. "It made him realize that you can adjust your system or schedule for just about anything."

Best Career Move: At age 19, Carmichael blew off medical school in order to train for the 1984 U.S. Olympic cycling team before turning pro. "My parents were doctors. My brother and sister were studying to be doctors," says Carmichael. "But I wanted to see whether I could make it as a pro in Europe."

Next Big Thing: Taking his company, Carmichael Training Systems, mainstream by offering professional-caliber, Web-based coaching to amateur athletes.—Paul Roberts

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