Mountain bikers ascendant 

As Lance Armstrong pedals his way toward an unbelievable seventh Tour de France victory, two brothers—and native Missoulians—are preparing to take their shot at international cycling glory later this summer. Hellgate High School graduates Sam and Andy Schultz have automatically qualified for the pinnacle of mountain bike racing, the Union Cycliste Internationale Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in Livingo, Italy, Aug. 29 through Sept. 4.

In order to qualify in the UCI’s U23 (under 23) division, riders must place in top 30 in a World Cup racing event. Sam, 19, reached that mark June 26 by placing 29th in the UCI World Cup at Mont Sainte Ann, Quebec. Andy, 21, placed 28th at the UCI World Cup in Angel Fire, New Mexico, July 10. The official USA Cycling UCI championship team roster will be released July 28.

According to USA Cycling spokesman Andy Lee, the Schulz brothers’ accomplishments are impressive.

“It’s very difficult to qualify for the World Championships in the division that we’re talking about here,” says Lee. “Out of all the [U23] riders in the nation, only seven riders make the team.”

Sam, a two-year veteran of the USA Cycling team, will be making his third appearance at the World Championships. “I’ve learned a lot the last couple years I’ve been there,” says Sam. “Hopefully I can put it together and have a good race and a good result.”

Andy, who will be making his first appearance at the World Championships, says qualifying for UCI championships was a major goal for him this year.

“I’m just really looking forward to enjoying the experience,” says Andy. “It’s a completely different scene in Europe.”

Lee says Missoulians should expect great things to come from the brothers Schultz.

“If they are competing at that level at that age, they certainly have a bright future ahead of them,” says Lee. “For them to do that well against established riders shows a huge, huge potential to be serious contenders at international level, whether at the World Cup, the World Championships or the Olympics.”

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