Sprinters Mark Cavendish and Tyler Farrar locked horns over the last three weeks at the Vuelta a España, with Britain's Cavendish getting the upper hand: 3 - 2.
Farrar wants to even the score at the World Championships on October 3 in Geelong, Australia, and overnight he received notice of the eight-man team that the USA will send to help him:
David Zabriskie (Garmin-Transitions)
Jason McCartney (RadioShack)
Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Transitions)
Danny Pate (Garmin-Transitions)
Tejay Van Garderen (HTC Columbia)
Craig Lewis (HTC Columbia)
Ted King (Cervélo Test Team)
Tom Peterson (Garmin-Transitions)
Farrar's Garmin team-mates, Zabriskie and Vande Velde will be essential road captains in Australia. The race starts in Melbourne and then completes 11 15.9-kilometre circuits in Geelong. The sprinters' chances may be thwarted the two hills on the circuit, which is where Zabriskie and Vande Velde will be able to help organise USA's efforts with rival sprint teams.
Cavendish has the support of only two team-mates, David Millar and Jeremy Hunt, due to selection rules based on national rankings. Millar races the Garmin trade team throughout the year and may use his connections to form a temporary alliance with Team USA to benefit both Cavendish and Farrar.
Farrar has the benefit of six extra team-mates, but lacks one with lead-out experience to guide him into the final metres along Geelong's Moorabool Street. USA Cycling has left out both Chris Horner and George Hincapie, they finished fourth and fifth in the USA Championships on Sunday, and Hincapie led out Cavendish to six of his Tour de France stage wins last year.
"Of course, I would love to have Lance [Armstrong], George [Hincapie] and Levi [Leipheimer] on the team, but they all have their own programme and the Worlds are difficult, it comes later in the season," USA's sports director, Mike Sayers said last month.
"It is problematic. George would be ideal, but he said that he was not going to be able to do it."
Farrar may suffer from USA's reluctance to field its best team, but a high placing this year may help the team fine-tune ahead of next year. Next year's edition in Copenhagen is even more sprinter friendly and offers Farrar his best chance to win, to take the first rainbow jersey in the men's race since Armstrong won in Oslo in 1993.
Zabriskie and Van Garderen will also race the time trial on 30 September.
Shelley Olds (Los Gatos, Calif./Peanut Butter & CO TWENTY 12) - road race
Evelyn Stevens (New York, N.Y./Columbia-HTC) - road race and time trial
Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif./unattached) - road race and time trial
Amanda Miller (Fort Collins, Colo./Team TIBCO) - road race
Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich./Colavita-Baci p/b Cooking Light) - road race
Carmen Small (Durango, Colo./Colavita-Baci p/b Cooking Light) - road race
Katheryn Mattis (Mountain View, Calif./Webcor) - road race
Benjamin King (North Garden, Va./Trek-Livestrong) - road race and time trial
Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./Trek-Livestrong) - road race and time trial
Andrew Talansky (Napa, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms) - road race and time trial
Alex Howes (Boulder, Colo./Felt-Holowesko) - road race
Chris Butler (Hilton Head, S.C./BMC) - road race
Carter Jones (Boulder, Colo./Jelly Belly) - road race
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Millar takes Thomas's place at road Worlds
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British World Championship team named
Three spots for Great Britain at Worlds road race
USA selects team for Farrar to rival Cavendish at Worlds
Australian Worlds team selection upset
Cavendish challenged to win Worlds rainbow jersey
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