Julich left off Olympic team
AP Sports Writer
Glenwood Springs, Co Colorado
George Hincapie is getting a fifth chance at winning Olympic gold. The longtime American cycling star ” best known for helping Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France seven consecutive times ” was announced Tuesday as one of nine discretionary selections to the U.S. Olympic team that’ll race in Beijing next month.
Hincapie, 35, becomes the first U.S. racer to make five Olympic cycling teams. No other American has raced a bike in more than three.
Glenwood Springs High School graduate Bobby Julich was left off the squad. In 2004 Julich won a bronze medal in the time trial event. Last week it was announced that Julich would not be on the CSC Tour de France team.
“It’s very exciting,” Hincapie told The Associated Press on Tuesday from his home in Spain. “I never would have imagined being in five Olympics. It’s a huge accomplishment, and I feel honored to do another one.”
Hincapie ” who’ll begin his 13th Tour de France on Saturday ” joins two-time Olympians Jason McCartney and Christian Vande Velde (a 2000 track cycling Olympian), along with Olympic rookie David Zabriskie as discretionary picks to the five-man American road squad. Levi Leipheimer earned an automatic Olympic spot by finishing third in last year’s Tour.
Vande Velde and Taylor Phinney, a member of the U.S. track cycling team, are from Boulder, Colo. Todd Wells, a member of the U.S. mountain bike team, is from Durango, Colo.
A quest for Olympic gold might be the highlight of Leipheimer’s 2008 campaign, because his Astana team isn’t allowed to enter this year’s Tour.
All five American men will take part in the mass start Olympic road race. Only Leipheimer and Zabriskie will ride in the time trial, an event where Tyler Hamilton won gold and Julich won bronze in Athens four years ago.
USA Cycling claimed three medals at the Athens Games, including Dede Barry’s silver in the women’s time trial. With the addition of BMX, it’s conceivable the United States could match that total next month.
Donny Robinson, the world’s No. 1 ranked BMX racer, had his spot confirmed Tuesday. He joins automatic qualifiers Kyle Bennett and Mike Day on the men’s squad. Jill Kintner, who qualified by winning USA Cycling’s yearlong Olympic points series, will be the lone American woman to race on the BMX track in Beijing.
In track cycling, 2004 Olympians Adam Duvendeck and Giddeon Massie both were selected again and will ride the team sprint, and Michael Friedman was selected to ride the Madison. They join automatic track qualifiers Phinney (individual pursuit), Bobby Lea (points race and Madison), Michael Blatchford (team sprint and match sprint), Sarah Hammer (women’s individual pursuit) and 2004 Olympian Jennie Reed (women’s match sprint).
In mountain biking, Adam Craig was the discretionary pick to join automatic qualifier Wells.
Tuesday’s nominations leave three spots unclaimed on the 24-racer American roster; two women still must be selected to ride alongside two-time Olympian Kristin Armstrong on the road team, and Georgia Gould’s teammate on the women’s mountain bike squad remains unknown.
USA Cycling said it intends to name those final three riders in the next two weeks.
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