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US men secure seven Beijing Olympics starts

Zabriskie at Worlds

Zabriskie at Worlds (Image credit:

Following the completion of the 2007 UCI ProTour and the 2007 UCI Road World Championships in Germany last month, the United States will receive the maximum of five starts in the men's road race and two entries in the men's time trial at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Finishing the season-long ProTour calendar ranked ninth, the United Sates earned five starts in the road race and one in the time trial, while a top-15 finish in the elite men's time trial at the world championships in September, courtesy of Dave Zabriskie (Salt Lake City, Utah/Team CSC) who placed 12th, yielded a second start in the race against the clock. American women are also on pace to secure the maximum number of three road race starts and two time trial starts.

Although the size of the U.S. women's team won't officially be determined until May 31, 2008, the U.S. is currently ranked fourth in the world with 1,117 points behind Germany (2,082), The Netherlands (1,933) and Italy (1,871). A top-15 ranking is needed on May 31 to claim three road race and one time trial start.

The U.S. women have already met the criteria to receive a second time trial start – a top-ten finish at the world championships – after Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho/Team Lipton) captured a silver medal and Amber Neben (Irvine, California/Flexpoint) and Christine Thorburn (Sunnyvale, California/Webcor Builders) placed fourth and fifth respectively in Germany last month.

Of the seven starts, only Levi Leipheimer (Santa Rosa, California/Discovery Channel) has satisfied the automatic nomination criteria to represent the United States in 2008 with a third-place overall finish in the 2007 Tour de France and Stage-19 time trial victory. On the women's side, Armstrong is the only athlete to meet the automatic nomination criteria with a top-three finish in the time trial at the 2007 UCI Road World Championships. On Jan. 1, 2007, a maximum of eight women will be named to the 2008 Olympic Road Long Team based on UCI rankings on December. 31, 2007 and USA Cycling principles of discretion.