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Sue Haywood's Olympic Dreams are dashed by incompetence at USACycling and a bull-rush "arbitration" that did not provide Haywood with proper legal representation. Shame on NORBA and USACycling who continue to leave this incredible failure unexplained.

******For Immediate Release****

Davis, WV
July 22, 2004
For more info contact: Susan Haywood
(304) 259-5424,


Susan Haywood’s Statement

On Friday July 16, 2004 I was chosen to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in Women’s Mountain Biking. I had earned the most UCI points (from the cycling world’s governing body) of any U.S. woman mountain biker and had won what many of us were calling the “crazy points chase”.

I made phone calls to people close to me, my parents, my coach, my good friends and teammates. It was a feeling of great pride knowing that my sole goal for the year was achieved.

No one has disputed that I earned the 15 points at the Sandpoint, Idaho UCI sanctioned E2 race. And I believe that the race promoters followed proper procedure. Yet due to a clerical error on both USACycling’s part as well as the UCI chief commissaire at that race, these points were never received by the UCI.

I repeatedly received assurances from USA Cycling’s Chief Operating Officer, Steve Johnson and the National Mountain Bike Coach, Matt Cramer as far back as April that these points would count toward my points total. I believed them and based my racing schedule around their word. If I had known those 15 points were not going to count, I could have adjusted my race schedule to make them up.

Even though I was named to the team and had gained the most points in one year with the deadline of July 12, 2004, my nomination was denied by a very last minute arbitration, which “awarded” the spot to Mary McConneloug.

According to the decision of an independent arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association, “It is unfortunate that Ms. Haywood has to bear the burden of USA Cycling’s errors. While, Ms. Haywood sadly bears the brunt of this …she and all other athletes will benefit if this decision leads USA Cycling and other national governing bodies issuing clearer, more transparent procedures that allow athletes to compete on a level and open playing field.”

When I signed up for my racing license, I didn’t expect to have to ‘bear a burden of errors’, mistakes and poor leadership for an organization that receives $6 million dollars every four years to field Olympic cycling teams. I expect an organization with that responsibility to conduct itself professionally by doing its job and keeping its word.

All the athletes involved in this year’s bid for the Olympics have acted with courage and integrity. I don’t feel USA Cycling has done this. I trusted them and they violated that trust.
Certainly, to be denied my Olympic spot due to a clerical error is unfair.

This is not sour grapes towards Mary McConneloug. Mary and I have always and will continue to maintain the highest level of sportsmanlike behavior that is expected of Olympians. I applaud the U.S. Woman Mountain Bikers who, despite being ranked number one in the world with two in the top three and two more in the top 15, have received only one Olympic spot. But that’s another story.


Thanks go out to all who have supported me this year and throughout these stressful last weeks. Ride on!
Susan Haywood

Haywood Achieves 1 Point Lead In U.S. Women’s POJ12 (points on July,12) Standings - by Matt Marcus

Also see:
Update #3, Update #2 & Update #1

HAYWOOD WINS OLYMPIC SPOT BY ONE POINT!

Susan Haywood’s ninth place finish at the Marathon
World Championships on Sunday was just good enough to
put her one UCI point ahead of Mary McConneloug, who
finished 24th.

UCI Points on July 12th:
Susan Haywood 1370 + 119 (for ninth place) = 1489
Mary McConneloug 1411 + 77 (for 24th place) = 1488

Whoever said truth is stranger than fiction certainly
could have been talking about the points race for
possession of the U.S. women’s sole Olympic mountain
bike spot. In a crazy see-saw battle that started
back in Vancouver, Canada on July 13th, 2003 at the
Grouse Mountain World Cup and continued through over
20 different countries, contained two World
Championships and ended with a brutal, grueling six
hour marathon, Susan Haywood prevailed by a single
point.

On the steep 1000 foot climb out of Bad Goisern, just
after the Marathon’s start, Haywood did not have the
legs to stay with the lead group and lost sight of
Mcconneloug. But Haywood passed McConneloug on the
next descent where Mary was stopped, apparently to
adjust her rain-coat. This would be the last time
during the race that they would be in contact, racing
against the insanely steep terrain and cold, wet
Austrian weather instead of each other.

Both women suffered on this course but never gave up.
Haywood overtook the Italian Anna Ferrari, whose
wheels had stopped rolling, clogged with mud, just
before the finish, picking up four crucial UCI points.
McConneloug overtook four competitors coming into the
finish, including Jimena Florit, but finished 15
places back and over 24 minutes behind Haywood.

Haywood is the only U.S. mountain bike athlete, man or
woman, to score a top ten finish in either of the most
recent cross-country or Marathon World Championships.
These are the events that ultimately, albeit slightly,
outweighed McConneloug’s more recent successes at the
2004 World Cups.

But the story took on a bizarre set of twists and
turns at the finish line Sunday in Bad Goisern,
Austria. Apparently a technical glitch- most likely a
bad transponder - had the initial results wrong,
giving McConneloug 23rd place and setting up the
bizarre situation of a UCI point tie. Later, in the
official results, 21st place was awarded to the
previously unrecorded Czech Jana Severova, pushing
everyone behind her back one spot, which moved
McConneloug into 24th.

In February 2004,on the island of Cyprus, McConneloug
and Haywood along with Jeremiah Bishop and Michael
Broderick drank a toast to each other, knowing that at
least one of them was likely to go to the Olympics.
Sunday night, after the Marathon both Haywood and
McConneloug went out to dinner together with Broderick
thinking they were tied in points, toasted each other
again with champagne and went to bed not knowing what
was going to happen.

Strangely enough, it is likely that both of these
great competitors are not yet aware that things have
now changed. According to USA Cycling’s Olympic
qualifying procedures, Haywood will be the one heading
to Athens in August.

Congratulations go out to Susan Haywood!

This is a bittersweet ending to a race that should
have sent three U.S. women to Athens. Obviously,
former World Champion Alison Dunlap should be
representing us in Greece. This is in addition to
McConneloug, whose silver medal in Calgary last
weekend proves she can pull off a big result.

While USA Cycling has stated that they will count the
“missing points” from the 2003 Sandpoint, ID NORBA
Nationals, they have not been able to explain the
reason why these points were never recorded by the
UCI. This is the same situation with the 2003 E2
short-tracks at Big Bear, Snowshoe or Mt. Snow, which
also appear on the UCI calendar. These lost points
were not counted by the UCI and directly contributed
to the loss of our Olympic starting spots.

The promoters of these events paid big money to host a
UCI category event. When both the UCI and USA Cycling
were repeatedly contacted regarding these points, they
have ignored the requests for information or replied
that they did not know what happened. They don’t seem
to care. Hmm… did the results accidentally get
misplaced or was it the sanctioning fee?

Hopefully the truth will come out and we will not make
the same mistakes before the 2008 Olympics.

Matt Marcus

Also see:
Update #3, Update #2 & Update #1

Update #3:
POINTS ON JULY 12TH (POJ12) AFTER WORLD CUP #46/24/04


Here are the latest POJ12
standings:

Susan Haywood 1211 POJ12
Mary McConneloug 1179 POJ12
Alison Dunlap 822 POJ12
Shonny Vanlandingham 741 POJ12

(These points calculations include points not yet
counted by the UCI. For example the Sandpoint, Idaho
short track, the Maxxis Cup Portugal XC and both 2004
Snowshoe, West Virginia events.)

Susan Haywood has regained the lead in the POJ12
rankings in what has been a season long see-saw battle
with Mary McConneloug. Haywood earned 20 points by
winning the E2 rated International Gegendtaler
Mountainbike Race in Afritz, Austria on June 13th in a
hard fought duel with Austrian road and mountain bike
World Cup contender Monika Schachl ( 18th at
Schladming).

Alison Dunlap moved up to third in the POJ12 rankings
thanks to her ninth place finish at the Schladming
World Cup, 41 seconds and three places in front of
Haywood. After several hard crashes on the first lap
McConneloug faded from 12th to 19th place by the
finish. The absence of Shonny Vanlandingham in
Austria negated any UCI points production for her last
weekend.

THE OLYMPICS- WHAT PRICE DO YOU HAVE TO PAY?

The UCI threat of a 1200 euro fine (over $1500.00) and
a 50 UCI point penalty for both U.S. cross-country
champions Mary McConneloug and Jeremy Hogan-Kobelski
for not wearing their national champions jerseys at
the early World Cups is now rumored to be a warning.
Both champions, who were previously unaware of the
rule, are now lining up in the stars-and -stripes.

The rumors that USA Cycling would pay for traveling
expenses for the 2004 Pan American Championships in
Ecuador for the top three finishers proved false.
Every elite athlete, who had to compete in this event
to qualify for the Olympic Games, was invoiced for
about $1500.00 or more by USAC. In the last two years
at least, when athletes were not required to race this
event, these costs were paid by USAC. Go figure.

HOW DO WE GET ANOTHER OLYMPIC SPOT?

The UCI required all National Olympic Committees to
report how many of their designated Olympic starting
positions they were going to fill by June 15, 2004.
Depending on the country and their qualifying
procedures some of the 30 womens spots and the 50 mens
spots may go unfilled.

The UCI now knows if any positions are available to be
allocated either by the Tripartite Commission to
countries that have petitioned for additional spots or
by the UCI to countries that are not yet represented,
according to the qualifying regulations.

If you know how to get the UCI to respond to inquiries
you would know if any spots are now available.
Otherwise you will have to wait until July 1st, 2004
to find out when the UCI will announce any
reallocations.

WHAT IS LEFT AND WHO IS GOING?

The points race continues this weekend in Mt. St.
Anne, Quebec with World Cup #5 followed by World Cup
#6 in Canmore, Alberta next weekend. Then contenders
will travel back to Austria for the Marathon World
Championships in Bad Goisern on July,11th.

This year’s unrelenting points chase for the women
started in week #6, back in February, in Cyprus and
has spanned the globe covering 15 different countries
on three continents ending in week #28. Great for
filling up a passport but maybe not so great for
Olympic preparation. This begs the question; will
there be anything left in the legs of the chosen
one/s?

Right now the favorites to gain the automatic
nomination based on the UCI points criteria are
obviously Haywood and McConneloug. But the race is so
tight that neither of the contenders can make a
mistake, have a mechanical or afford to have an off
day. Amazingly enough they have both performed
flawlessly all season with only minor mechanical
difficulties, which leaves one wondering if the
Olympic slot will be decided by a simple flat tire.

Add to this the factor that USAC’s points tally and
exactly how they figure it is unknown, and you have to
assume that it will come down to July 11th and the
Marathon World Championships.

As the overwhelming mathematical odds against Dunlap
have almost closed the door on her getting the
automatic nomination based on UCI points, her chances
now hinge on the possibility of the U.S. getting
another slot for the women on July 1st. If the spot
materializes, Alison is now first in line for the next
automatic nomination based on World Cup points.

If Dunlap continues to lead the U.S. women in World
Cup points after World Cup #6 and we receive an
additional spot, this would save her from traveling
back to Austria to do the Marathon Worlds on July
11th. This would be her best case scenario and a huge
relief for the former World Champion.

WHAT IS THE MARATHON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS?

With 200 points for the winner, the Marathon World
Championships is one mother of a race. The men are
expected to finish in five hours and the women in six.
105.7 kilometers (65.5 miles) and over 7000 feet of
climbing, 7% pavement, 71% dirt road and 21%
double-track and single-track through one of the most
scenic areas on the planet.

But the focused rider will not have much time to enjoy
the scenery, especially on the tricky vertical
descents on logging skids, ski area access roads, and
the high speed downhill grades with tunnels blown
through rock with one fast 100 yard stretch next to a
1000 foot sheer cliff with no railing!

The race starts with a 1000 foot vertical climb that
will have most competitors shifting into the small
ring by kilometer 3. The lowest point on the course
is reached by kilometer 72 during the loop around the
city of Bad Ischl, virtually the only flat kilometer
on the entire course. Next is the gut-wrenching climb
to the high point on the course at kilometer 94, 3500
feet of vertical ascent in 20 kilometers towards the
end of the race!

The competition level will be high. Top women riders
expected to attend are World Cup leader Gunn-Rita
Dahle, reigning World Champion Sabine Spitz and the
top ranked German national team, the Polish national
team including reigning Marathon World Champion Maja
Wlolszczowska and Canadian Alison Sydor to mention a
few.

It’s a good thing that the well stocked feed zones
will have beer available.

Matt Marcus

*****************************************************************
Update #2:
5-27-2004 New POJ12 (Points On July 12th) Rankings

The new UCI rankings that came out earlier this week
have the staff at the POJ12 accounting offices
scratching their heads.

(Is it just us, or do the relevant points in the
riders detail [click on the rider’s name in the UCI
rankings] not equal the points total given to them in
the rankings? And yes, we only used points from the
past 365 days, dropped the excess E1 and E2 scores and
counted the 2002 World Championship!)

Whatever the problem is with the current UCI rankings,
we can’t figure it out but it doesn’t matter. We are
only concerned with the points on July 12th. We have
a handle on where our girls have been and how they’ve
done. We believe our POJ12 numbers are right…sort
of…but we can fix them.

If the bad news is that the riders total points
numbers in the new UCI rankings make no sense, the
good news is that most of the missing results have
been added to the rankings. Or is that good news
after all?

It ended up being bad news when we discovered that we
were wrong in assuming that the Waco short-track and
the Sonoma short-track were both E2 events. Surprise,
surprise, surprise, as PFC Gomer Pyle would say,
according to the UCI they are both E1’s.

Being wrong didn’t put us in bad company. The USA
Cycling website’s May 19th, 2004 Women’s Olympic MTB
Update also made the same mistakes, in addition to
assuming that the Swisspower Cup #4 was an E1. One
can only speculate that the bad information we
received may have come from the same source.

Meanwhile, back at the POJ12 headquarters war room,
codes were descrambled, old spreadsheets were shredded
and points tallys were started from scratch as our
security council worked late into the night to revise
and make our POJ12 rankings more valid.

The only UCI category events we have counted that do
not appear in the UCI rankings yet are the 2003
Sandpoint, ID NORBA #4 E2 short-track, the 2004
Portugese E1 Maxxis Cup #1 and the above mentioned
2004 E2 Swisspower Cup #4.

First, here are the revised numbers before Madrid and
Big Bear:

Susan Haywood 888 POJ12
Mary McConneloug 867 POJ12
Shonny Vanlandingham 599 POJ12
Alison Dunlap 400 POJ12

Haywood benefited most from the revision gaining
another 13 points from the Waco short-track.
McConneloug’s score was unaffected and Vanlandingham’s
numbers were shuffled but unchanged. Dunlap lost 37
E2 points but gained back only 10 in E1 points for a
net loss of 27 POJ12.

Here are the updated numbers after the Madrid World
Cup and the NORBA Big Bear (assuming the Big Bear XC
and short-track were both E2 events):

Susan Haywood 963 POJ12
Mary McConneloug 945 POJ12
Shonny Vanlandingham 619 POJ12
Alison Dunlap 498 POJ12

Although Mary and Susan are probably both disappointed
with their placing at Madrid, America has to be
psyched that all three of our women riders were in the
top 15. A top 20 finish in this World Cup has to be
considered a good result and a top 10 has to be
considered a great result.

While our four girls battle it out for our lone
Olympic spot there are other interesting fights for
the rights to go to Athens. Joining the U.S. in the
“Most likely to deserve another Olympic spot” category
is Italy who placed Annabella Stropparo fifth and
Paola Pezzo sixth at Madrid in a tight race for their
one spot.

It seems as if Marie-Helene Premont (10th) is likely
to join fellow Canadian Alison Sydor (4th) on the trip
to Greece. This leaves Kiara Bisaro (16th) to duke it
out with an under the weather Chrissy Redden (26th)
and Trish Sinclair (28th) for their third spot.

Barbara Blatter (7th) and Petra Henzi (9th) are the
safe bets for the Swiss picks but what about the
Spanish? Spain is the only country besides
Switzerland to receive two Olympic spots for the women
but Spain was nowhere in the women’s race in Madrid.
Marga Fullana pulled one of her patented furious fast
starts out of the gates, then blew up, crashed and
DNF’d. Spain’s first woman finisher, Silvia Rovira
Planas, rolled in at 25th place.

Laurence Leboucher (13th) is likely to take France’s
sole spot. Poland did not fare too well in Madrid.
With three Olympic spots they may not be too worried
though. World Marathon Champion Maja Wloszczowska
finished 19th while the two other young stars, Anna
Szafraniec and Magdalena Sadleca, DNF’d. You should
see plenty from these Polish women in the future as
the oldest of them is only 23!
A good bet for China is Yanping Ma (31st) and in a
tight race Ireland’s Jenny McCauley (58th ) slipped in
before countrywoman Tarja Owens (61st).

One final note. UCI points and World Cup points are
two different animals. While the U.S. women’s Olympic
points race and the U.S. men’s first spot will likely
be determined by UCI points, the U.S. men’s second
position will likely be determined by World Cup
points. UCI points give the winner of a World Cup 150
points and are awarded 100 places deep. World Cup
points give the winner 250 points and are awarded 50
deep to the women and 75 deep to the men.

The World Cup points system is more heavily weighted
to the top finishes. A rider with one good result and
several sub par results could beat out a rider with
more consistent results on the World Cup scale.

Good luck to all of the American riders at World Cup
#2 in Houffalize, Belgium on Sunday.

Matt Marcus

***********************************************************************

Update #1:
May 18, 2004- All of the Olympic contenders know that as we approach July 12th each race becomes more important. With six World Cup races, worth 150 UCI points each to the winner, and the Marathon World Championships on July 11th, with 200 points up for grabs, there are still 1100 points available to add to their scores. Anything can happen and it’s not over yet for anyone who globetrots to the start of these seven major events in the next eight weekends.

Susan Haywood 875 POJ12 1049 UCI
Mary McConneloug 867 POJ12 1035 UCI
Shonny Vanlandingham 603 POJ12 650 UCI
Alison Dunlap 427 POJ12 600 UCI

The above numbers are based only on known points that riders have earned. For example, the UCI rankings that came out yesterday do not credit Dunlap for over 200 points from Waco, Sea Otter, Portugal or Sonoma.

Susan Haywood has regained her POJ12 advantage by a mere eight points over McConneloug by placing third (30 points) in the E1 Swisspower Cup #5 at Perrifite on Sunday. World number four ranked Petra Henzi took the victory followed by Swiss compatriot Andrea Huser.

Alison Dunlap continues to show why she will not be counted out by taking first in both the E1 and E2 events at Sonoma adding 60 points to her total. Luna teammate Shonny Vanlandingham scored in both events adding 26 to her POJ12 tally.

No results could be found for the elusive Mary McConneloug, fueling rumors that she took the weekend off. This would be her first break since Easter, when there were no UCI category events. Other than these two weekends, Mary has raced every week since February 8, 2004 winning an amazing 10 of 13 and getting second or third place in her “losses”.

In mens action, Todd Wells reports that ,after last weekends 10th place in the Open De Espana #3 E1 in Spain, Jeremiah Bishop is back to form winning a Spanish E1 this weekend. The lone American at the Olympic Test Event in Athens was Adam Craig who placed a respectable 15th place in perhaps the most competitive field yet this year.

Good luck to all the Americans at the upcoming World Cup #1 in Madrid, Spain this weekend.

Matt Marcus


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