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  • Wed August 13 2008
  • Posted Aug 13, 2008
BRYCE MILLER DES MOINES REGISTER August 9, 2008 Juyongguan, China — When the moment to establish medal contenders revealed itself, the U.S. men’s road cycling team found itself flat-pedaled at the concession stand. A pack of 25 riders sprinted away from the pack Saturday, leaving the Americans and most of the field in the humid Chinese haze. McCartney did not finish the men's road race in Juyongguan, China, when the U.S. "burned" two riders — McCartney and teammate David Zabriskie — to help the American team close the gap on leaders. Spain’s Samuel Sanchez out-pumped a pack of six riders at the finish to win the gold medal in 6 hours, 23 minutes and 49 seconds. Italy’s Davide Rebellin won silver and Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara claimed bronze. Levi Leipheimer finished as the top American — 11th, 20 seconds behind Sanchez. “We were just trying to get ice, get bottles — just try to stay hydrated,” said Jason McCartney, the U.S. rider from Coralville, Iowa, who was among 53 riders who did not finish. “We didn’t really kind of expect that. We weren’t watching for that. “But that’s definitely our fault. We should’ve had somebody there.” Christian Vande Velde finished 17th — 30 seconds off the winning time — while George Hincapie ended in 40th with a time of 6:26.25. “It’s the hardest Olympics I’ve ever done. It was a race of attrition,” said Hincapie, the 35-year-old, five-time Olympian from Greenville, S.C. “I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve started to sweat before the race starts."

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