Last week’s announcement of the US road cycling squad for the London Olympics included many of the fresher faces in cycling.
That’s great that the younger cyclists get a chance, but if you’re like me, then you probably wondered why so many of the “old pros” were left off the final list.
Cyclists such as Tyler Farrar, Timmy Duggan, Taylor Phinney, Tejay van Garderen, and Chris Horner (the only older pro) are certainly all deserving.
But how about long-time pros like George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie. They were on the hopeful list; why weren’t they chosen?
It turns out the four asked not to be considered for the Olympic events this August. USA Cycling, the governing body for cycling, issued this statement:
“USA Cycling will not speculate on the reasoning behind their requests and will not have further comment on this topic; any questions related to their decision should be directed to the individual athletes,”
Efforts by many news organizations to reach the cyclists have been thwarted, but many sources are speculating that it has to do with the four’s association with Lance Armstrong.
The US Anti-Doping Agency last week said it’s charging Armstrong with dope cheating during his career. As evidence, it cites blood samples from his comeback in 2009-2010 as well as testimony from former teammates from his earlier US Postal Service era.
Armstrong denied the allegations.
All four of those opted-out cyclists were Armstrong teammates during that period. Although one of them, Hincapie, was connected to grand jury testimony by “60 Minutes” last year, it’s unknown whether the others offered testimony.
All four had their eyes on the Olympics earlier in the year. Leipheimer, recovering from a crash, said he probably wouldn’t be considered. But the others — Hincapie, Zabriskie and Vande Velde — all had told CyclingNews this year that they desired a spot on the Olympic team. For Hincapie, it would have been his sixth visit.
Here are the rosters for the 2012 US Olympic cycling teams. The Pacific Northwest appears to be well-represented. Congratulations to all of them:
MEN’S ROAD CYCLING
Timmy Duggan (Boulder, Colo./Liquigas-Cannondale)
Tyler Farrar (Wentachee, Wash./Garmin-Barracuda)
Chris Horner (Bend, Ore./RadioShack-Nissan-Trek)
Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./BMC Racing) – road race & time trial
Tejay van Garderen (Tacoma, Wash./BMC Racing)
WOMEN’S ROAD CYCLING
Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho/Exergy TWENTY12) – road race & time trial
Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif./Specialized-lululemon) – road race & time trial
Shelley Olds (Gilroy, Calif./AA Drink-Leontien.nl)
Evelyn Stevens (Acton, Mass./Specialized-lululemon)
Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) – women’s team pursuit
Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./OUCH Pro Cycling) – women’s omnium & team pursuit
Bobby Lea (Topton, Pa./Pure Energy Cycling-ProAirHFA) – men’s omnium
Jennie Reed (Seattle, Wash./OUCH Pro Cycling) – women’s team pursuit
Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, N.C./Exergy Twenty12) – women’s team pursuit
Jimmy Watkins (Bakersfield, Calif./Project London 2012) – men’s sprint
David Herman (Wheat Ridge, Colo./Free Agent-Rockstar)
Spot #2 Olympic Trials winner
Spot #3 discretionary nomination following Olympic Trials
Arielle Martin (Spanaway Wash./Intense BMX)
Spot #2 discretionary nomination following Olympic Trials
MEN’S MOUNTAIN BIKE
Samuel Schultz (Missoula, Mont./Subaru-Trek)
Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./Specialized Racing)
WOMEN’S MOUNTAIN BIKE
Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt./Specialized Racing)
Georgia Gould (Fort Collins, Colo./Luna Pro Team)