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With single-point margin, Haywood gets Olympic nod

By VeloNews Interactive

After a week of counting, recounting and recalculating UCI points, USACycling announced the formal nomination of Sue Haywood to the 2004 U.S.Olympic Mountain Bike Team.Haywood’s nomination comes after a dramatic year-long pursuit of UCIpoints resulted in her position as the top-ranked American in the world,but the West Virginian emerged in that position only after the the UnionCycliste Internationale issued its final tally of points standing as ofJuly 12.After counting UCI rankings and including points earned points fromthe July 2003 short track race at the NORBA National in Sandpoint, Idaho,which were not included in the UCI’s final count, Haywood ended up with1489 points to 1488 earned by Californian Mary McConneloug.Haywood prepares for Athens as one of the most successful American mountainbike athletes over the course of the last year. After staking claim toher second-ever U.S national short track title in 2003, Haywood was thetop American finisher at September’s UCI Mountain Bike World Championships,riding to a sixth place finish. Her successful 2003 season paved the wayfor a crucial 2004 crusade that culminated with a win at the Pan AmericanChampionships, the first head-to-head test against other U.S. Olympic hopefuls.Nine podium appearances and six top-20 World Cup performances this yearalone provide Haywood with both the experience and talent necessary tomake an impact in her first Olympic Games.The well-documented chase for UCI points between Haywood and McConnelougfinally came to a close last Sunday. Following the final UCI-sanctionedcross country event on the calendar prior to Olympic selection, the UCIMountain Bike Marathon World Championships, Haywood narrowly escaped withthe Olympic nomination. Following the race, Haywood’s ninth place finishand McConneloug’s 24th place effort resulted in a one point differentialbetween the two athletes who battled all year.“Sue and Mary fought a valiant battle all year for this Olympic teamnomination so it seems fitting that they would end up separated by onlya single point,” said Gerard Bisceglia, USA Cycling chief executive officer.“They both proved they are amongst the best women in the world and we knowSue will represent the United States extremely well in Athens.”The naming of the Olympic mountain bike team completes the cycling contingentheaded to Athens.Bisceglia noted that the U.S. is already working closely with Canadato fill out a continental calendar that includes several top events atwhich riders can earn the maximum number of UCI points, ensuring additionalspots for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.”This is not something we ever want to see happen again,” said Bisceglia.”We don’t want to find ourselves with a single Olympic spot going to Beijingand we don’t want to have to see riders chasing all over the globe tryingto score as many points as possible to get that spot.”2004 U.S. Olympic Cycling TeamMountain
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.)
Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.)
Sue Haywood (Davis, W. Va.)Road
Tyler Hamilton (Marblehead, Mass.)
George Hincapie (Greenville, S.C.)
Bobby Julich (Glenwood Springs, Colo.)
Levi Leipheimer (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
Jason McCartney (Coralville, Iowa)
Kristin Armstrong (Boise, Idaho)
Dede Barry (Boulder, Colo.)
Christine Thorburn (Davenport, Iowa)Track
Adam Duvendeck (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Giddeon Massie (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Marty Nothstein (Orefield, Pa.)
Colby Pearce (Boulder, Colo.)
Christian Stahl (Bethany, Conn.)
Erin Mirabella (Racine, Wis.)
Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Wash.)

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