May 26, 2004
Rodriguez in or out for Athens?
cyclingnews.com has a go at handicapping the selection process for the US Olympic road race team (PDF), focusing on whether twice-US PRO champion (and recent Giro stage winner) Fred Rodriguez is likely to make the 5-man team.
Rodriguez, probably the best US sprinter, and therefore one of the best US chances on the sprinter-friendly Athens route, could easily be left on the sidelines. There are already 5 riders with automatic qualifiers, and there's very likely to be a 6th after the USA Cycling USA Cycling Olympic Trials race in Redlands, CA June 19th.
The winner of the Trials in June has highest priority to make the team. Next are Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton, who finished in the Top 5 in a grand tour over the last year. Then comes Bobby Julich, based on his top-five at Paris-Nice, then George Hincapie, for being ranked in the UCI World Cup Top 25 (he's 15th), and finally Floyd Landis, for being in the top 50 of the UCI road rankings.
Cyclingnews suggests that Rodriguez still can get in as a discretionary selection, but rule I(d)(4) looks clear:
Discretionary Nomination Criteria If positions remain open after the automatic nominations are exhausted, additional athletes may be nominated to the team based on USA Cycling Principles of Discretion.
As I read it, it looks like not only Rodriguez but Floyd Landis might be out if they don't win the Olympic trials race. Of course, there's a chance that some of the higher-priority riders might choose not to race.
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