U.S. women's cycling team set

Mari Holden, a former triathlete, is heading to Sydney for the U.S. Olympic team  Credit: Adam Pretty/Allsport

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. All three members of the U.S. Olympic women's road cycling team started their athletic careers in other sports.

Karen Kurreck was a college gymnast. Mari Holden was a triathlete. Nicole Freedman was a runner.

All three will represent the United States at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Freedman, 28, of Stanford, Calif., earned her spot by winning the Olympic trial road race in May, in Jackson, Miss.

Holden, of Colorado Springs, and Kurreck, of Los Altos, Calif., were selected to the team Wednesday by a committee of USA Cycling coaches and administrators. The five-member men's road cycling team is scheduled to be announced Aug. 1.

Holden is the third female cyclist from Colorado Springs to earn a spot on the Olympic team, after Erin Veenstra-Mirabella (track) and Alison Dunlap (mountain bike).

Dunlap, the second-ranked mountain biker in the world, had hoped to compete in mountain bike and road racing.

"I'm a little disappointed, but mountain biking is my focus and I'm still going to get to go," said Dunlap, who finished 37th in the road race at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and switched over to concentrate on mountain biking soon thereafter. She still regularly competes in road races.

Sean Petty, director of athlete performance for USA Cycling, was on his way out of the country and could not be reached to discuss the selection process.

But cycling officials may have been concerned about the possibility of Dunlap competing in three grueling events mountain bike (Sept. 23), road race (Sept. 26) and individual road time trial (Sept. 30). If Dunlap were to sustain an injury in the mountain bike race, there is no alternate for the road race.

Holden's selection was expected. She won her third consecutive national time-trial title at the Olympic trials in May and is a five-time national time-trial champion.

"I've been waiting four years to make an Olympic team," said Holden, who worked through major disappointment after finishing sixth at the Olympic trials in 1996, when the top three made the team.

Last year, she won the national road title.

"I'm really excited to actually be named to the team," she said. "1996 was very difficult for me. Having gone through that experience, I feel more mature."

Holden, 29, and Kurreck, who both have more international racing experience than Freedman, will compete in the time trial in Sydney. All three will ride in the road race.

This will be the first Olympic appearance for all three. The trio will begin training and racing together for the first time during the next few weeks, in Europe.

Kurreck, 38, won the time trial at the 1994 World championships.

Another Colorado Springs cyclist, Karen Dunne, the 1999 Pan American road racing gold medalist, was also in the running. However, Dunne hasn't had a strong racing season, finishing 10th at both the Olympic trials road race and at the First Union Liberty Classic. She finished second at First Union last year.

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