Expect tight race for lone U.S. TT spot for Olympics

There will be a shoot-out among the elite men pros to gain what will be a lone berth for the U.S. men's time trial for next summer's Olympic Games in London.

2011 Tour de France, stage 20, Levi Leipheimer
Levi Leipheimer in the stage 20 time trial at the Tour de France. Photo: Graham Watson |

The UCI released its preliminary list of starting-lineup allotments for next summer’s Games on Monday and the U.S. men’s team will only be receiving one starting position for the time trial race.

Monday’s news confirms what was already established during the road cycling world championships in Copenhagen earlier this month. The U.S. needed to be among the top-10 nations in the elite men’s time trial race to secure a second berth.

Taylor Phinney gave it his best shot on the 47km Copenhagen course, but finished outside the top 10, meaning that there should be a real dogfight among the top U.S. time trialists for what will be just one spot for London.

Levi Leipheimer and Dave Zabriskie both represented the United States in the time trial in Beijing in 2008, with Leipheimer bringing home the bronze medal.

Those two will likely be favorites to secure one of the spots, with Phinney nipping at their heels.

Phinney has already said that he’s more interested in trying to get a shot at an Olympic medal on the road rather than the track, which will see the individual pursuit eliminated as an Olympic medal sport in London.

Others looking to nab that lone spot could include Andrew Talansky, Matthew Busche, Christian Vande Velde, Danny Pate and Tom Zirbel.

Australia, Denmark, Spain, Great Britain, Germany, Kazakhstan, Holland and Switzerland each will receive two starting positions for the 40-rider field in the elite men’s time trial race.

The U.S. will have a full allotment of five starters for the elite men’s road race, however, joining eight other nations with the maximum number of allowed riders. Teams will range from one rider to five in the 140-rider field for the road race.

The U.S. team is expected to rally around sprinter Tyler Farrar for the men’s road race.

Some nations have the right to give up spots that they will not be using, meaning that some of the allotments could change before the final attribution is designated in April.

The women’s allotments will be attributed on May 31.