Last minute changes for road races
USA Cycling has confirmed the addition of Amanda Miller (HTC-Highroad) and John Murphy (BMC) to the elite men and elite women road race teams, respectively.
Miller is a last-minute replacement for Kristin Armstrong, who left Copenhagen after being replaced in the time trial by Amber Neben, but a worthy addition at the end of her most successful season to date.
She scored her first European win in stage 3 of the Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen, and was part of HTC-Highroad's winning team time trial squad in three races, including last week's Giro della Toscana Femminile.
"I'm coming off a solid block of racing, which I think will help me in the world championships," Miller told Cyclingnews. Prior to Toscana, she had her highest UCI stage race finish with a fourth place in the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche.
She will join her trade teammates Evelyn Stevens and Neben along with sprinters Theresa Cliff-Ryan and Shelley Olds and US road champion Robin Farina.
"I am very excited to be a part of the 2011 road race squad for the world championships. It's a very strong group of women and I think we have several cards to play in the race. I'm looking forward to helping the team achieve our goals for the race."
Many pundits have predicted a sprint finish to the races, but Miller says the course in Copenhagen could favor a breakaway, but expects the weather will be an important factor.
"There are a lot of places to get out of sight and put in some strong attacks. The weather is going to play a huge role in how the race is won. I don't think the race will come down to a huge field sprint. If a break isn't successful, it's likely that there will be a select group of 20-30 riders sprinting for the finish. We will have to be prepared for any situation. I think it's going to be a hard, fast day either way."
Murphy was named this week as the ninth rider for the elite men's road race team, and showed he was deserving of the spot with a sixth place finish in the Omloop van het Houtland in Lichtervelde today.
The BMC rider said he was working for teammate Alessandro Ballan, but after an attack split the group he was the only BMC rider in the front group.
"[Then] I tried my own move with 2km to go. We came back together in the last kilometer and I did what I could in the sprint. To be honest, I haven't gone for a sprint in a long while so I'm a bit rusty. I didn't feel super today, and honestly I wanted to ride for Ballan, but when it split I had to assume the role."
He will travel to Copenhagen on Friday to prepare for Sunday's elite men's road race, where the USA will look to Tyler Farrar should the race come to a bunch sprint.
"It's always an honor to represent the U.S. at the Worlds. This will be my first time as a pro. I'm hoping to be an asset for the team and that we can come away from Denmark with a nice result."
Murphy joins his BMC teammates Brent Bookwalter, Taylor Phinney and Jeff Louder as well as Farrar, US champion Matthew Busche, Andrew Talansky, Timmy Duggan and Ben King.
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