USA Cycling disappointed with Worlds allotment

Six-rider team will make tactics difficult for men's road race

The UCI's deadline has in effect ended for nations to qualify spots for the 2013, and the United States has narrowly missed earning enough points in the WorldTour to make the top ten in nations, and thereby earn a full complement of nine riders for the elite men's road race.

USA Cycling's Jim Miller, the VP of Athletics and selector for the team, said he was disappointed that the country didn't make the top 10 - it missed the cut by 18 points - but said because the spots are determined by the WorldTour rankings, "We don't have much say in how they race or who they race for. It is what it is."

In past years, the country has relied upon results from riders like Chris Horner, who has been out with a knee injury since March, Tyler Farrar, who was not selected for Garmin-Sharp's Tour de France team this year, Levi Leipheimer, who retired after serving a six-month off-season doping ban, but for the past two years, the points have come predominantly from the young riders Andrew Talansky (Garmin) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC).

While Talansky's point tally was on par with his 2012 season, van Garderen's 2013 Tour de France did not go nearly as well as last year. In 2012 he earned 100 points for his fifth place overall, but this year only earned 10 points for taking second on Alpe d'Huez.

"I don't think [the ranking] is an accurate reflection of the strength of US cycling," Miller said. "But it is a fairly accurate reflection of how the group [of WorldTour riders] performed as a whole this year.

"Going to Worlds with nine guys, especially on such a tough course, would give us more options tactically than going with six."

Miller expects to continue to focus on fielding a team of young riders, upon whom he has counted over the past few years when the top veterans eschewed selection for the team.

"The young riders have a strong desire to race, and the Worlds mean more to the new generation than it did in previous years."

Under the USA Cycling selection criteria, Tejay van Garderen, Andrew Talansky and US Pro champion Fred Rodriguez have already earned automatic nominations, but it is up to the athlete himself to choose to race the Worlds or not.

If all three accept, that leaves just three spots for other riders to get discretionary nods. "It certainly makes selections more difficult," Miller said.

The USA team will be decided on September 2.

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