Lance Armstrong ( Austin , Texas ) - A familiar face and an even more familiar story again returns to the Olympic Games. Cancer survivor and five-time Tour de France winner, Armstrong, is shooting for a record sixth Tour de France victory this July.
A bronze medalist in the time trial at the 2000 Games, Armstrong is hoping to carry his Tour de France form into Athens to improve upon his result in Sydney .
Tyler Hamilton ( Marblehead , Mass. ) - Hamilton made a name for himself after his courageous and stellar performance in the 2003 Tour de France. The humble, unassuming former teammate of Armstrong who supported his early Tour victories left the USPS team to seek a TDF victory off his own.
Riding for the Danish CSC team in 2003, Hamilton was one of the favorites to win, however a horrific crash in the opening stage left him with a broken collarbone. Determined to press on, he rode the remaining 20 stages to place fourth overall.
Bobby Julich ( Glenwood Springs , Colo. ) - Men’s Road Cycling Julich represents the quintessential comeback story. Billed as the next great American cyclist after Greg LeMond, Julich placed third overall at the 1998 Tour de France. Relative anonymity followed as Julich never returned to that form, but after signing for the Danish CSC team for 2004, Julich has enjoyed a return to stardom and has been on the podium in several of Europe ’s toughest and most prestigious races.
Dede Barry ( Boulder , Colo. ) - Women’s Road Cycling Currently the No. 1-ranked American cyclist in the world and 20 th in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rankings, Barry is an extremely strong candidate to represent the USA at the 2004 Olympic Games.
Coincidentally, her husband, Michael Barry, is the No. 1-ranked Canadian cyclist in the World and a teammate of Lance Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team. Avid cooks, the Barrys are publishing a cookbook later this year.
Kimberly Bruckner ( Boulder , Colo. ) - Lance Armstrong is not the only elite American cyclist to beat cancer and return to the top form. Last August, four-time U.S. National Champion and three-time defending U.S. National Time Trial Champion Bruckner was diagnosed with cancer after a tumor was found in her ankle.
The illness cut her 2003 cycling season short but she is now back on the bike competing at cycling’s highest level internationally.
Christine Thorburn ( Davenport , Iowa ) - Women’s Road Cycling New to the elite scene in 2003, Thorburn earned a spot on the team that represented the United States at the 2003 World Championships.
The relative newcomer has already posted impressive finishes at America ’s biggest bike races this spring and is a favorite to win the Team USA Selection Road Race in June to earn a spot on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team. What makes Thorburn’s success unique is that unlike many of the successful riders in the pro peloton, Thorburn has a day job, as a medical doctor.
Mari Holden ( Colorado Springs , Colo. ) - Women’s Road Cycling 2000 Olympic silver medalist and World Time Trial Champion, Holden has her sights set on another Olympic medal. She is one of the most decorated cyclists in American history regardless of discipline or gender.
Alison Dunlap ( Colorado Springs , Colo. ) - Women’s Mountain Bike One of the most decorated female mountain bikers in U.S. history, Dunlap became World Champion on Sept 14, 2001 , added an overall World Cup Champion title in 2002, and was primed for a spot on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team until a horrific injury hurt her chances.
Last June Dunlap crashed hard on a descent, suffered a fourth degree separation of her shoulder and underwent complete reconstructive surgery to repair the injury. With only one spot available to U.S. women for Athens in mountain biking, Dunlap’s chances to fill that spot are slim as the slot will likely go the highest ranked rider in the UCI standings on July 12, 2004 .
Since Dunlap missed most of the 2003 season, her international ranking went from 3 rd to 88 th at the beginning of the 2004 season. But don’t count her out just yet; her stellar performances thus far in 2004 show that she is determined to climb back to the top of her sport, and with six World Cup races on the calendar before Olympic selection, Dunlap is still a favorite.
Marty Nothstein ( Orefield , Pa. ) - Men’s Track Cycling 2000 Olympic gold medalist in the men’s sprint, Nothstein is taking a different approach to the 2004 Games. After 2000, Marty shed 40 pounds and took up road cycling and won one of America ’s biggest races on the road in 2003, the New York City Cycling Championships. Focused again on the Olympics, the new-look Northstein has put aside the sprint events that brought him Olympic success and is focusing his energy on the keirin, an endurance even
Information provided by USOC Press Box