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Nation Olympic Rankings Update
Sat Jul 12, 2003
Source: VeloNews

Things are getting very interesting for the American men and their chances for the Olympics. In the latest set of UCI nation rankings (issued July 2) the U.S. is 14th, meaning two spots at the Olympics is anything but assured.

Just like in 2000, the number of entrants in Olympic cross-country races will be determined by each country's place in those nation rankings at the end of the year prior to the Olympics (that's this year). Countries in the top five (top three for women) will receive three entries, while those ranked six to 15 will get 2. Fall out of the top 15, and one is all you get.

Right now the top five men's countries are France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain. Canada is currently seventh overall, 188 points behind the fifth-placed Spaniards. Meanwhile the U.S. has 846 points, 25 more than 15th-placed Denmark, and more importantly, 271 more than the Czech Republic, which is 16th.

Nation rankings are determined on the basis of the three top riders from each nation ranked among the first 100 men (first 60 women) in the UCI's individual cross country rankings. Currently Todd Wells is the top American in 57th, with Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (74th) and Carl Decker (77th) rounding out America's top 3. For Canada Roland Green is the top ranked rider in 10th, followed by Ryder Hesjedal (19th) and Seamus McGrath (23rd).

On the women's side the U.S. has almost no chance of scoring three riders for Athens, after they slipped all the way to seventh in the most recent standings. Germany, Canada and Switzerland occupy the top three spots. If the U.S. has any hopes of getting back into three-spot territory, it will need some big efforts from Susan Haywood (14th in the UCI individual rankings), Willow Koerber (34th) and Mary McConneloug (37th).

The American women's chances of regaining the top 3 suffered a big blow early this year when top rider Alison Dunlap separated her shoulder, knocking her out for the season and precluding her from helping with the points chase.

Canada's bid to hold onto its spot in the top three is being led by Alison Sydor (5th), Chrissy Redden (9th) and Kiara Bisaro (16th).

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