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Small, Neben lose Olympic arbitration

Amber Neben and Carmen Small have lost their arbitration cases against USA Cycling for the 2016 U.S. Olympic cycling team.

Cyclists Amber Neben and Carmen Small have lost their respective arbitration cases against USA Cycling regarding the 2016 U.S. Olympic cycling team, USA Cycling confirmed on Wednesday.

In a statement provided by USA Cycling, the arbitrator said that the governing body “exercised its discretion appropriately” and acted “without bias or bad faith” in its naming of the four-rider team. Last month the governing body named Mara Abbott, Evelyn Stevens, and Kristin Armstrong as discretionary picks for the Olympic team.

The three joined Megan Guarnier, who had qualified at the 2015 UCI world road cycling championships. 

Both Small and Neben filed appeals against USA Cycling’s decision after the team was announced. Both women had finished ahead of Armstrong — the two-time defending Olympic champion — at the 2016 USA national time-trial championships in Chattanooga, TN.

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Small crossed the line 1:08 ahead of Armstrong to win the race.

Small, who filed her appeal on June 28, told VeloNews that she did not believe USA Cycling’s selection procedure was fair. She said she spent the lion’s share of 2015 and 2016 participating in European races to bolster her chances, while other riders did not.

“It’s one thing if I didn’t make it because I’m just wasn’t good enough,” Small said. “But I’m not making it because someone decided someone else should go over me. That’s why I’m not going down without a fight.”

In a statement, USA Cycling said its selection committee chose the three athletes based on its previously published selection criteria.

“[Neben] and [Small] are immensely gifted athletes, and we regret that we are only allowed two Olympic time trial positions given our deep talent pool,” USA Cycling said in a statement. “We are pleased, however, that an independent arbitrator upheld the selections for the women’s Olympic Individual Time Trials made by our Selection Committee.”