Nothstein, Mirabella among those nominated
Two-time Olympic medalist Marty Nothstein and returning Olympian Erin Mirabella were among the seven riders nominated Friday by USA Cycling to compete in the Athens Games.
Nothstein, the men's sprint gold medalist at Sydney in 2000 and a silver winner in the same event at Atlanta in 1996, leads a team of five U.S. men's track riders.
Other American men on the roster include Colby Pearce of Boulder, Colo., Adam Duvendeck of Santa Barbara, Calif., Giddeon Massie of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Christian Stahl of Bethany, Conn. All four of those riders are headed to the Olympics for the first time.
Mirabella, who was eighth in the individual pursuit race in Sydney, will be joined on the women's roster by Jennie Reed of Kirkland, Wash.
The average age of the seven track riders is 26; three of them -- Duvendeck, Massie and Stahl -- haven't yet reached their 23rd birthdays.
"It's a smaller team than it was in 2000, a younger team generally than in 2000," U.S. Olympic cycling team leader Steve Johnson said. "This is really, I think, our medal hopefuls for 2008. The track program has been in a rebuilding mode, so our expectations aren't as great as they would have been in 2000."
Nothstein, of Orefield, Pa., retreated from track cycling after the 2000 Games to begin focusing on road races, and had considerable domestic success. But he returned to the track circuit and earned his Olympic berth by placing 13th in this year's World Cup standings -- despite missing three of the five points races.
"We've got a young group and that first Olympic step is a big one," Nothstein said. "The Olympics is a special event and brings out the best in everybody. I'm looking forward to getting back on that platform."
Pearce, a seven-time national champion, was third in the overall World Cup standings this year and won a gold medal at the season-finale in Sydney. Duvendeck, Massie and Stahl -- the probable team sprint entry for the United States in Athens -- were ninth in the World Cup overall team standings this year, earning their Olympic bids.
The women's medal outlook seems promising, considering both Reed and Mirabella consistently grabbed top-five finishes on this year's World Cup circuit.
Reed won the women's keirin bronze medal at this year's world championships, and will ride both the sprint and 500-meter time trial in Athens. And Mirabella, of Racine, Wis., finished the World Cup season ranked fourth overall.
"Given their competitiveness and recent performances in international competition, we're looking forward to seeing what we can do on the Olympic stage," USA Cycling CEO Gerard Bisceglia in a statement released by team officials.
USA Cycling is sending 18 riders to Athens. The eight-member road team, which will include five-time defending Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, will formally be named July 6; the three mountain bikers who will race in the Olympics will be named July 13.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press