USA Cycling: 4 Experienced US Riders Mysteriously off the Olympic Squad

Michael HatamotoContributor IIIJune 16, 2012

BEIJING - AUGUST 14:  Levi Leipheimer of the United States poses with his bronze medal in the NBC Today Show Studio after placing third in the Mens Cycling Road Time Trial event at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 14, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Kristian Dowling/Getty Images)
Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

The fallout from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s efforts to strip seven-time Tour de France cycling champion Lance Armstrong continued today, when four of his former teammates withdrew their names from Olympic consideration.

Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie, George Hincapie and Christian Vande Velde asked USA Cycling to be removed from consideration.

A decision related to their removal wasn’t publicly disclosed, according to the Washington Post.

Here is what USA Cycling had to say about the topic:

USA Cycling has received numerous inquiries regarding the men’s Olympic road team announced yesterday. Prior to the commencement of the Olympic team nomination process, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie individually requested that they not be considered for nomination.

USA Cycling will not speculate on the reasoning behind their requests and will not have further comment on this topic; any questions related to their decision should be directed to the individual athletes.

Leipheimer was building form for the Tour de France and other racing goals and didn’t believe a trip to the Olympics was ideal. Also, Hincapie admitted ambitions to help Cadel Evans defend his 2011 yellow jersey, and will race the World Championship instead. 

The Team USA road race team has the following discretionary picks:

  • Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
  • Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek)
  • Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda)
  • Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing)—also has the discretionary pick for the individual time trial
  • Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing)

Excluding the elder statesman, Chris Horner—racing at 40 years old—the rest of the squad are riding on ProTour teams but don’t have the experience as Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Hincapie or Vande Velde. 

Interestingly, Horner is a former Armstrong teammate—and likely isn't riding the Tour de France with his RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team—but he will represent Team USA in London next month.