Colorado Springs, Colo. (July 10, 2008)-USA Cycling announced today its three remaining nominees to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team. After naming 21 of the 24 cyclists that will compete in Beijing on July 1, USA Cycling today confirmed road cyclists Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.) and Christine Thorburn (Sunnyvale, Calif.) and mountain biker Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass.) to the squad that will represent the United States in China next month.
All three athletes earned discretionary selections and were nominated to the Olympic Team by a nine-person selection committee according to USA Cycling's Principles of Discretion.
Representing the United States at her second Olympic Games, Thorburn will compete in both the mass start road race and the individual time trial in Beijing. After finishing just out of the medals in Athens four years ago with a fourth-place finish in the race against the clock, Thorburn has consistently been one of the United States' top international performers in both events. In 2006, Thorburn captured a bronze medal in the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships. In 2007, she returned to the world championships to place fifth. Additionally, Thorburn has claimed spots on the podium in several other major international races, including a first-place finish in the time trial stage of the 2006 Tour of Montreal and a silver medal at the 2005 Pan American Championships.
Heading to her first Olympic Games, Neben will contest the mass start road race alongside Thorburn and Kristin Armstrong. Currently ranked ninth in the world, Neben is one of the most decorated American cyclists on the international circuit. Over the course of the last three years, she's either won or placed in most major UCI races across Europe. Her list of accomplishments include overall victories in the 2005 and 2006 Tour de l'Aude and the 2007 Route de France Feminin, as well as a second-place finish in the 2007 Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen. Neben also earned back-to-back bronze medals at the 2006 and 2007 USA Cycling Elite Road National Championships, finished third overall at the 2007 Giro di San Marino and placed fourth at the 2007 Fleche Wallonne World Cup.
As discretionary selections, both Thorburn and Neben were nominated to the squad based on their capability to medal in their respective events or otherwise enhance team performance to create a medal capable environment.
McConneloug will join Georgia Gould on the two-woman cross country mountain bike squad. Currently the highest-ranked American in the world in 10th, McConneloug has been a model of consistency on the 2008 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup circuit, placing 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th in the five World Cups to date. Most recently, McConneloug was the third-best American at the 2008 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships last month with a 20th-place finish.
"The addition of these three athletes to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team further demonstrates the depth of American cycling at the international level and our medal potential," commented USA Cycling Director of Athletics and Team Leader Pat McDonough. "Of the several remaining candidates on a very talented Long Team, these three riders have consistently illustrated an ability to contend for medals or otherwise raise the level of our team's performance in major international races. Their addition to the Olympic Team makes the 2008 squad one of the strongest in recent memory."
Also confirmed on Thursday was a discretionary nomination for Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif.) to compete in the women's points race. On July 1, Hammer was announced as an automatic qualifier for the individual pursuit.
All nominations are subject to the approval of the United States Olympic Committee.
Members of the media can download a copy of the USA Cycling 2008 Olympic Media Guide from USA Cycling's website.
2008 Olympic Games
USA Cycling Nominees:
1. George Hincapie, 35 (Greenville, S.C.) Road Race
2. Levi Leipheimer, 34 (Santa Rosa, Calif.) Road Race, Time Trial
3. Jason McCartney, 34 (Coralville, Iowa) Road Race
4. Christian Vande Velde, 32 (Boulder, Colo.) Road Race
5. David Zabriskie, 29 (Salt Lake City, Utah) Road Race, Time Trial
1. Kristin Armstrong, 34 (Boise, Idaho) Road Race, Time Trial
2. Amber Neben, 34 (Irvine, Calif.) Road Race
3. Christine Thorburn, 38 (Sunnyvale, Calif.) Road Race, Time Trial
1. Michael Blatchford, 22 (Cypress, Calif.) Team Sprint, Match Sprint
2. Adam Duvendeck, 26 (Santa Barbara, Calif.) Team Sprint
3. Michael Friedman, 25 (Pittsburgh, Pa.) Madison
4. Bobby Lea, 24 (Mertztown, Pa.) Points Race, Madison
5. Giddeon Massie, 26 (Zionhill, Pa.) Team Sprint
6. Taylor Phinney, 18 (Boulder, Colo.) Individual Pursuit
*The United States also has one start position in the men's Keirin. The athlete who will contest the Keirin will be announced at a later date.
1. Sarah Hammer, 24 (Temecula, Calif.) Individual Pursuit, Points Race
2. Jennie Reed, 30 (Kirkland, Wash.) Match Sprint
Men's Mountain Bike
1. Adam Craig, 26 (Bend, Ore.)
2. Todd Wells, 32 (Durango, Colo.)
Women's Mountain Bike
1. Georgia Gould, 28 (Ketchum, Idaho)
2. Mary McConneloug, 37 (Chilmark, Mass.)
Men's Bicycle Motocross (BMX)
1. Kyle Bennett, 28 (Conroe, Texas)
2. Mike Day, 23 (Santa Clarita, Calif.)
3. Donny Robinson, 25 (Napa, Calif.)
Women's Bicycle Motocross (BMX)
1. Jill Kintner, 26 (Seattle, Wash.)