Cycling’s national governing body is planting its mountain biking flag in Northwest Arkansas.
Colorado Springs, Colo.-based USA Cycling announced its intention Thursday (Dec. 15) to establish a Bentonville satellite office focused on supporting and training junior and collegiate mountain bike racers.
The expansion is tied to the organization’s plan to make Bentonville the official “Home of the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team.”
According to a news release, the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team will utilize Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas’ network of trails and gravel for endurance fitness camps and skills-development camps leading into the World Cup racing season. In addition, USA Cycling will also host mountain bike and road junior talent identification and skills camps in Bentonville.
USA Cycling officials said the camps are made possible through a philanthropic investment by the Walton Family Foundation at the direction of Steuart Walton and Tom Walton, the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation and the Penner Family Foundation.
“Our long-term goal is for Team USA to win the gold at the 2028 Olympic Games,” USA Cycling CEO Brendan Quirk said in a statement. “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.”
In addition to serving as the center for its mountain bike operations, Bentonville will also become the national base for USA Cycling’s collegiate cycling operations and other functions related to the growth of grassroots bike racing across the country.
“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.”
USA Cycling also has a European logistics base and rider housing in Sittard, Netherlands.
Tom Walton and Steuart Walton are brothers and grandsons of Walmart Inc. founders Sam and Helen Walton and the co-founders of Runway Group. The Bentonville holding company invests in real estate, hospitality and outdoor recreation in Northwest Arkansas.
Tom Walton said investing in collegiate cycling is a priority for the USA Cycling presence in Northwest Arkansas.
“We believe Bentonville is a natural host for this program and are confident this will elevate USA Cycling on the global stage,” he said.
Steuart Walton said the region is becoming a cornerstone of the U.S. mountain bike racing scene.
“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,” he said. “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.”