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Officials from USA Cycling released the final roster of riders bound for Tabor in the Czech Republic to contest the world cyclo-cross championships, February 3-4. SuperCup cyclo-cross series winners Marc Gullickson (Mongoose) and Ann Grande (Kona-Voicestream) will head the eight-rider team.
Dale Knapp (Kona-Voicestream) and Rachel Lloyd (Novo-Sycip) fill out the other spots in the U.S. elite squad offered by USA Cycling. Alan Obye and Josh Anthony will race in Under-23 event, while Jeremy Powers and Aaron Bradford will represent the U.S. in the junior men’s race.
Notably absent from the U.S. contingent will be U.S. national champions Tim Johnson and Alison Dunlap.
Both Johnson and Dunlap automatically qualified for the world championship, but declined the invitation. The 23-year-old Johnson, who signed with Saturn late last year, will be attending a team training camp and focusing on a budding road career. Dunlap (GT), meanwhile, said she will be focusing her energies on the upcoming mountain-bike season and that discipline’s world championship in Vail, Colorado.
The U.S. is eligible to send more riders, U.S. ‘cross coach Clark Natwick had earlier said invitations would only be extended to riders viewed as having “a good chance to medal.” SoBe-Headshok’s Carmen Richardson, who finished eighth at the world’s last year and battled for the overall SuperCup title until the final event, was not invited because she finished more than two minutes behind Dunlap in the national championship event.
USA Cycling finalized team qualification procedures in November 2000. One requirement was that riders had to finish no more than two minutes behind leader at nationals to be considered for world championship team.
“Two minutes is a lot,” said USA Cycling’s Jiri Mainus when explaining the two-minute requirement. “That could be 10 or 15 spots in Tabor.”
Financial considerations may have played a role in keeping the U.S. contingent small as well. While eight riders were offered slots, the governing body will only fund the expenses of five. Gullickson, Grande, Obye and both juniors will have their trips paid for by USA Cycling. A private fundraising effort by American cyclo-cross fans is nearly complete and will likely foot the bill for the remaining three riders.