Taylor Phinney and Sarah Hammer were crushed when the International Olympic Committee decided to overhaul the track cycling program for the London Games.
The basis for the change was to achieve gender equity, with five medals each now up for grabs for men as well as women. But the move has been met with consternation by many in the cycling community, particularly those whose medal hopes have taken a hit.
That's the case with Phinney and Hammer.
Their signature event, the individual pursuit, was among the eliminated events. Phinney was a two-time world champion and would have been among the favorites, while Hammer - a four-time world champion and current world record-holder - would have been the one to beat.
Phinney was so frustrated with the removal of his event that he left the track, and is trying to make the road team. Hammer has switched to the omnium with mixed results.
"I just don't have the same passion now," said Phinney, who earlier this year won the opening time trial at the Giro d'Italia and then hung onto the coveted leader's jersey two more days.
The changes to the track amount to this: The men's and women's points race and individual pursuits have been abandoned, along with the men's Madison, and the omnium has been added for both along with a team sprint, team pursuit and keirin for the women.
"It's tough to discount the fact that we have two athletes that were world champions between the Beijing Games and the London Games in the individual pursuit," said Ben Sharp, USA Cycling's director of endurance programs. "I think the change is pretty controversial."
The omnium, which is similar to track and field's decathlon, is supposed to bring a fresh, new excitement to the velodrome. It incorporates the individual pursuit along with five other events: the flying lap, points race, elimination race, scratch race and time trial.
That element of excitement is precisely why Phinney has shied away from it.
Unlike the individual pursuit, where riders start on opposite sides of the track, several of the events in the omnium are mass starts. That creates a certain amount of chaos on the track, and brings into the equation an element of luck.
If one rider goes down, another rider's Olympic hopes could be dashed.
"So for me, focusing on someone who could crash me out, that didn't make sense to me," Phinney said, "whereas the individual pursuit, if I went to the Olympics and I was in the best shape of my life, and I was better than everybody else, I'd win."
Hammer has tried to embrace the omnium, winning silver at last year's world championships and taking bronze earlier this year in Melbourne. But she also admits being stunned when the IOC announced its massive changes to the track program.
"It was a shock, like, no way. It's the blue ribbon event of track cycling," she said. "Like Taylor, I was devastated, but it's kind of like, 'What are you going to do now?'"
Hammer answered her own question by becoming a medal hopeful in the omnium, and she also has a chance to medal in the women's team pursuit, one of the new events. Her team won silver at last year's world championships, and for a while held the world record.
"It's one of those things where having the omnium is an exciting new event, but thankfully we can also temper that with the team pursuit," said Andy Sparks, Hammer's husband and coach. "That's another event we can sort of control."
This isn't the first time the track cycling program has changed. The men's 1-kilometer time trial and women's 500-meter time trial were eliminated after the Athens Olympics.
Nor is the U.S. the only country to be affected.
Britain dominated the velodrome in Beijing with 14 medals, including gold in men's and women's individual pursuit. It also captured two more medals in the pursuit races, something that won't be possible when the London Games roll around.
That's because another change this year is that each nation is only allowed one rider in individual events. France had four riders in the top 10 at last year's world championships in the match sprint, while Britain had three and Australia two.
"This will water down the field," said Francois Pervis, a former kilometer specialist trying to make the French team in the keirin, a mass-start race with a sprint to victory. "The Olympic races will be 10 times easier than the world championships. Many of the best in the world will simply not compete in London."
There are other changes to the track program that may not be so evident.
The plasticized "skin-suits" that some teams wore in Beijing have been banned. There are also new restrictions on the bikes and aerodynamic covers on helmets.
Still, none of that has riled up the establishment like the changes to the event lineup.
"Really, I'm not too sad to leave the track behind," Phinney said. "Riding around in circles is relatively tedious, especially when you're training by yourself. But it's too bad. I was pretty upset when initially we found out about the pursuit being lifted, but what's life without a couple of curveballs to make things interesting?"
AP Sports Writer Samuel Petrequin contributed to this report.