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Amber Neben, Megan Guarnier among automatic qualifiers for 2012 London Olympics

2011 UCI Road World Championships, elite women, Amber Neben
Amber Neben on the front, checking for teammates, at the 2011 world championships. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Former world champion Amber Neben and Giro Toscana overall winner Megan Guarnier are among the automatic qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic long team for the 2012 London Games.

USA Cycling will announce the full women’s road long team Thursday.

Thursday marks the culmination of the long-team qualification period, which opened January 1. Candidates to the long team qualified either through a series of automatic standards, including a top-25 position in the UCI world points standings on November 15, or a win in the national championship road race or time trial in Augusta, Georgia, back in June.

The eight-person selection committee, made up of former world championship and Olympic team members, also may nominate discretionary members of the long team.

While the final team for the road race may include a maximum of four starters — two of those will also start the time trial — the number of riders on the long list is not limited. Riders hoping to qualify for the London Games must be named on the long team Thursday for a shot at the final squad next year.

Automatic qualifiers include Neben, ranked eighth in the season-ending UCI standings, Guarnier, national TT champion Evelyn Stevens and national road champ Robin Farina.

Riders expected to make the discretionary selection include 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong-Savola and 2010 Giro Donne stage winner Shelley Olds and Theresa Cliff-Ryan, who was the top American woman in the worlds road race in 18th.

Frequent national team members Andrea Dvorak, Amanda Miller, Carmen Small are also possible nominations, along with 2009 national road champion Meredith Miller, recent Pan-Am Games team member Alison Tetrick-Starnes, and 2011 National Racing Calendar winner Janel Holcomb.

The selection committee comprises Dylan Casey, Jeanne Golay, Jeff Pierce, Alison Dunlap, Mike McCarthy, Dede Barry, Anton Quist and Eric Rupe. The committee bases its decision on the recommendations of USA Cycling staff members, among them Jim Miller, vice president of athletics.

Women’s long-team selection criteria

  • Top 5 result in the 2011 world road race or time trial championships
  • Top 25 in the UCI world points standings on November 15
  • Top 10 in the UCI World Cup individual standings on November 15
  • A general classification win in a European UCI 2.1 race
  • A win in a UCI World Cup event
  • 2011 national time trial title, if event is run under UCI regulations
  • 2011 national road race title, if event is run under UCI regulations
  • Discretionary selections made by USA Cycling Selection Committee based on principles of athlete selection

Check back Thursday for the announcement of the U.S. women’s long team for the 2012 Olympic road events.

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