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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (VN) — USA Cycling announced without fanfare on Saturday that four marquee athletes asked not to be considered for nomination to the U.S. team that will race the London Olympics.
In the brief press release, the national governing body said:
“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.”
Earlier this year, speaking with VeloNews European correspondent Andrew Hood, Leipheimer said he wasn’t counting on an Olympic berth despite having won bronze in the time trial during the 2008 Games in Beijing.
“I am not counting on going back to the Olympics,” Leipheimer said. “That’s OK. I need to focus on winning races and not doing the Olympics is a good thing for that.” The Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider is presently racing the Tour de Suisse, finishing third on Saturday’s stage 8 and sitting third overall at 21 seconds behind race leader Rui Costa (Movistar).
Meanwhile, Hincapie, in announcing that he would retire at the end of this season, said that his final two races would be the Tour de France and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge; there was no mention of the London Games. Asked for comment, BMC press officer Sean Weide replied via e-mail that the team was “in its (pre-determined) Tour de France quiet period, meaning team directors and riders who are slated to participate in the race in two weeks are not available for interviews.”
The five men who will race the Olympics include Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale); Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda); Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan); Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).