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I am 20 years old. My height is 1.7 meters (5 foot 7 inches). I live in India. I have cycled since I was a kid just for enjoyment. I have no idea how I will reach to world level competition like Olympics. It is my dream. or is it too late?

Is there something which will tell me early on whether i am capable of doing it or not, like a first test whether I am gifted with cycling skills?

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    Do you care of a particular sport? "Reach Olympics" vs. "reach Olympics competitors performance" is very different - sputniknews.com/world/… Aug 5 '20 at 3:36
  • @AlexeiLevenkov Indeed. I was thinking of this guy, but your example is in the "See Also" section at the bottom.
    – Michael
    Aug 5 '20 at 16:45
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There's no way we can answer this question for you. The people who reach elite-level competition in cycling have extraordinary natural gifts, dedicate enormous time and effort to training (20+ hours per week), and are incredibly motivated (to train intensively for 20+ hours per week, etc).

If there's a local cycling club you can ride with, do that. If there are any races in your area, enter some races. See how you like racing, and see how you do. Start reading up on training methods and learn what you can. Usually the people who have those exceptional gifts rise to the top pretty quickly, but even if you don't, don't let that discourage you from having fun with racing at a local level.

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    In India it is probably the same as in any other country. You'll have to be in a national club, take part and win at local races, followed by races on a national level. It is a gradual process with hard work.
    – Carel
    Aug 4 '20 at 20:10
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    I think I recall an anecdote about Floyd Landis, a domestique for the infamous Lance Armstrong. Landis won the 2007 Tour de France initially but was stripped of that victory for doping. If I remember right, Landis was joining serious road group rides on an old mountain bike and street clothes. Basically, I think you're correct that exceptionally gifted athletes will very quickly exhibit a high response to training.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Aug 5 '20 at 13:58
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It is mostly too late indeed, unless you are already a world class or at least national-level athlete in a different sport - like Primož Roglič who was a ski jumper. Human bodies need the right level of physical training during their growth, that means some reasonable training during childhood and especially during junior levels to get to world class levels. The competition is too large. You could still perhaps get to some very high levels if you have the right genetic predispositions, but the Olympics are very unlikely and professional cycling likely as well.

I absolutely support the recommendation of Adam Rice to join any local race and see how you compare with others. If you are really gifted, you would see that you can easily compete with most other people. Where I am from, there are many MTB amateur races for all age groups and abilities. The possibilities of road or track racing, on the other hand, are very limited. Your country or even your state may be different, see what is available in your area. For the start it really does not mater too much if it is road, track, cross-country or cyclocross.

You are looking for the signs of exceptional physical strength/endurance even if you see that your technical skills are holding you back. If you have the genes for excelent physical condition, some coach may even spot you at these races because you would start winning soon.

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    Endurance sports seem to be an exception to this general rule. Besides, to get to Olympics you need to be only at national level.
    – ojs
    Aug 4 '20 at 19:42
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    @ojs Well, say national top, and that is international level for me. India is a large country and although there are not many (any?) World tour road riders from India, cycling there is not weak thebridge.in/cycling/how-indian-cycling-emerged-force-reckon Cycling also requires a lot of racing and riding experience. And often also speed in sprints. We do not know the discipline, I assumed mostly road but we should not exclude track or MTB. The others might require even more skill gained by experience. Time trial is perhaps the easiest and the closest to "raw endurance".
    – Vladimir F
    Aug 4 '20 at 20:19
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    Okay, just as a random data point, the current Finnish road cycling champion is 52 years old and apparently began serious training as an adult. Partial explanation to how he did is that there was a professional race at the same time so no pro tour riders were participating, but he still managed to beat previous year's winner (who was 34 at the time). procyclingstats.com/rider/arto-vainionpaa/2019
    – ojs
    Aug 4 '20 at 20:32
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    @ojs I really should have written that surely there is someone somewhere but even his story really does not tell us when he started cycling and when he started competition-level (even amateur is fine) sport in general - and my answer is about that, not about the age to retire. Every cyclist knows Valverde, the 2018 wold champion. After all, I am an avid nordic skier so I am very well aware of what Anders Aukland is capable of (currently 47). But some good sport activity during the key development years of the muscosceletal system is really really important.
    – Vladimir F
    Aug 4 '20 at 21:15
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    @ojs Also the current cyclocross champion of my country is an amateur 42 years old. And he was able to race at the world championship thanks to that win. But even he was raised in a cycling family and his father was an (amateur as everyone else back then) racer.
    – Vladimir F
    Aug 4 '20 at 21:28
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You need --

  • Natural ability
  • Training
  • Persistence
  • Support
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    Gear and physiological coaching
    – Carel
    Aug 5 '20 at 9:43
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Of course that you can reach Olympic level competitions. Just find a way to get into the national team of a small/obscure/sports lacking country. Find and become the equivalent of the Jamaican Bobsled team at the 1988 Winter Olympics.

See you at the Olympics.

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    Olympics have entry standards these days, it is no longer one team per country but the team must show it has quality.
    – Willeke
    Aug 5 '20 at 17:28

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