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Neben joins team USA for Flanders

Amber Neben (USA National Team) on her way to winning the fourth stage.

Amber Neben (USA National Team) on her way to winning the fourth stage.
(Image credit: Pete Bruggeman)

Former world time trial champion Amber Neben will join the USA National Team as a last-minute replacement for the UCI World Cup races this month. Neben, the winner of a stage at the New Zealand women's tour and the Redlands Classic jetted to Belgium on Friday to meet the team in time for the Tour of Flanders.

"Amber Neben is filling in at the last moment because [Jessica] Phillips is sick," explained team director Manel Lacambra, who is expecting the last-minute travel to weigh on Neben for the first race.

"She will be tired because of the travel, and jet lag, but she is always a world class rider. We will try to play and profit from all options with all the other girls, but Neben will certainly be a natural leader and focus for our team."

Neben is currently without a team, having signed with the former Equipe Nuernberger before it lost its new title sponsor and was unable to fulfill its contractual obligations. The team, reformed as Noris, will start Tour of Flanders without Neben and its other lost signing, Nicole Cooke, who will ride with the British National Team.

Neben will stay in Europe for the Grand Prix de Dottignies and Unive Ronde van Drenthe World Cup before returning home to California.

USA team for Tour of Flanders: Andrea Dvorak, Janel Holcomb, Sinead Miller, Amber Neben, Lauren Tamayo and Alisha Welsch.