SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Two Americans beset by crashes and mechanical problems pulled out of the Olympic women's road race midway through the event Tuesday (Monday night EDT).

The withdrawal of Karen Kurreck of Los Altos Hills, Calif., and Mari Holden of Colorado Springs, Colo., left Nicole Freedman of Stanford, Calif., as the only American in the race.

Kurreck, the 1994 world time trial champion, crashed with two other riders early and had problems with her wheel.

She was well behind the lead pack and when she pulled into the pits and dropped out just before finishing her third lap, her jersey torn on the back.

Holden, a five-time national champion in the time trial, got a flat on the second of seven laps. She also had problems with her chain, even switching bikes after the second lap but pulled out just before completing her fourth lap.

Both Kurreck and Holden are scheduled to race in Friday's time trial. With rain falling and temperatures in the low 60s, it seemed a better strategy to conserve their energy for their specialty race.

Freedman, on the other hand, has one Olympic event. She qualified for the road race by winning the Olympic trials in Jackson, Miss., in May, the only at-large spot awarded on the women's team.

Freedman rode with the lead pack through the first three laps but was three minutes behind after completing her fourth lap.