First Edition Cycling News for August 18, 2004
Edited by John Stevenson
Men's time trial wide open
Dark horse Honchar threatens conventional wisdom
By Tim Maloney, European Editor
The Athens Olympic time trial course is an out and back 24km run that starts in the coastal town of Vouliagmeni in Attica. The race starts and finishes in front of town hall on Athinas Avenue, then heads south to the coastal road, past Variza beach and east to the turnaround at the Agia Marina. The parcours runs along the Aegean Sea and will be blown by the South-Southwest Meltemia winds that will increase as Wednesday afternoon continues. The men will ride two laps of the course.
Conventional wisdom says this time trial will see Jan 'The Man' Ullrich battle Tyler 'The Man From Marblehead' Hamilton for the gold medal. But lurking in the wings is the most ambitious and perhaps the strongest TT man on Planet Earth: Serguei Gonchar (Ukraine).
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Women's field small but elite
Power course favours the tough
By Kristy Scymgeour
Following undoubtedly the most exciting women's road race in Olympic history on Sunday, when attack after attack culminated in Australian Sara Carrigan taking the win in a two up sprint against Judith Arndt of Germany, the women will line up again tomorrow for the individual time trial.
Only 25 riders are on the start list with the majority of nations having two start spots and a few having just one, but the field is packed with riders who have strong medal chances. The women will complete one lap of the 24km course, which hugs the seafront between Vouliagmeni and Agia Marina. It is an out and back route that presents a couple of small climbs but the major obstacle will be the wind. Riders training on the course yesterday reported strong winds and conditions are expected to be the same today.
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Favourites tip each other for time trial
As the riders took the chance of a final's day's practice on the time trial course Tuesday, Rob Jones caught up with a some of the favourites to get their thoughts on the course and the competition.
Christophe Moreau (France): "The wind, it is from all directions."
Victor Hugo Pena (Colombia): "Everyone can have a chance here."
Michael Rich (Germany): "if we have what I call a 'chocolade day', then it is possible [for Ullrich and me to medal]. I need a chocolade day."
Michael Rogers (Australia): "The harder, the better."
Lyne Bessette (Canada): "The rollers [hills] will crush legs. I think it is harder on the way out, but the wind is coming at you in both directions."
Leontien van Moorsel (Netherlands): " It is a good course for Arndt, Zabirova, Somarriba and Carrigan and, hopefully, me."
Dede Barry (USA): "There's no question that the strongest rider will win."
Oenone Wood (Australia): "I'll just give it everything... I think I couldn't really be in a better position."
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Julich rides in Grewal's wheel-tracks
Bobby Julich is following the Olympic trail blazed by his boyhood cycling hero Alexi Grewal, whom he got to meet last winter - and even had the chance to handle the gold medal Grewal won in the 1984 Olympic road race.
"The reason I got into cycling was watching Alexi win that gold medal," Julich told AP yesterday after training on the time trial course. "When I got to hold it, I don't know, it was like my career has gone full circle. And now I have the chance to win it for myself. Enough said. I don't need any more motivation than that."
However, Julich is still nursing the damaged wrist that he sustained in a crash in the Tour de France last month. While initial x-rays seemed t show that all was well, and Julich had just suffered extensive bruising, a subsequent examination revealed a non-displaced fracture. The injury will probably require a cast to allow it to heal fully.
But not yet. "This is it. This is what I've waited four years for," Julich said. "This [injury] is not going to affect my race at all."
Julich concedes the competition at this Olympic time trial will be fierce. "It's a pretty star-studded lineup," he said. "You don't see this many great riders on form at a world championships. The Olympics is really lucky they got such a great field."
Reed likely to skip 500m
American Jennie Reed says she is unlikely to ride the 500m time trial when the Olympic track program starts on Friday, preferring to concentrate on her preparation for the sprint.
"I'm pretty sure I won't be riding it," Reed told AP. "I might change my mind, but I doubt it. It's just not my forte. I could go out there and do it to get the nerves out of the way, but it's just not something I'm focusing on."
Instead, Reed will take a complete rest day on Friday to be ready for the three days of the sprint contest which starts Monday August 22 with qualifiers and culminates in finals on tehevening of Tuesday, August 24.
Reed won't be replaced in the 500m start list. "We didn't do any preparation for the 500 this year, and the way the competition is scheduled it really doesn't fit our plan," said U.S. sprint cycling coach Andrzej Bek. "It would distract our pattern. And sometimes, when you try to get two things, you can come away with nothing."
Mayo out of Vuelta
The Euskaltel-Euskadi team announced yesterday that Iban Mayo will not ride this year's Vuelta a Espaņa (September 4-26). Mayo was persuaded by team management to add his name to the roster for the Vuelta after his disappointing Tour de France but has been diagnosed as suffering from acute infectious mononucleosis, also known as glandular fever. Mayo seems to have contracted the virus some time between this year's Dauphiné Libéré and the start of the Tour de France.
Mononucleosis causes general tiredness and lack of strength and in the case of a sportsperson such as Mayo causes an incapacity to recuperate properly after periods of intensity physical activity. This may well explain Mayo's inability to recover and perform during the recent Tour de France.
The team has suggested that the virus was probably contracted during his period of training between the Dauphine and the Tour and developed during the Tour. Mayo is now recuperating at home in Durango and training at low intensity. He will undergo further tests in early September to see how well he is progressing. Mayo trains regularly with Cafes Baque's Francisco Gutierrez, who was diagnosed as suffering from the disease a few months back and has in recent times slowly been increasing his training load as his recuperation progresses.
Even though the news is not the greatest for Euskaltel it will mean that they will now start the Vuelta with one less leader allowing the other designated riders, notably Samuel Sanchez a little more space in which to shine.
Raisin moves up at CA
American Saul Raisin, currently the only non-French rider on Credit Agricole's Division III espoir team has signed a two-year deal to ride for the Division I CA team from 2005.
US 'Cross nationals venues decided to 2008
USA Cycling has announced the hosts for the 2005-2008 U.S. Cyclo-cross National Championships. The cyclo-cross festival will return to New England in 2005 and 2006 after a six-year hiatus from the northeastern U.S, thanks to the New England Cyclo-cross Association. In 2007 and 2008, the festival will be held in Kansas City, promoted by KLM Marketing Solutions.
The New England organizers have several ideas for race sites across New England, including Dhenahey Park, Hopkinton State Park, and the Chocksett School. The site for the 2005 event will be selected before the 2004 Championships in Portland this December.
In 2007, the festival will visit the midwestern U.S. with a convenient venue proposed for Liberty Memorial Park in Kansas City, MO. The event will be centrally located to 55 million people who can make the drive in 14 hours or less.
All-Ireland Youth Championships
By Tommy Campbell, Irish Independent, Evening Herald, Sunday Independent
This weekend's flagship Irish event is the All-Ireland Youth Championships, organised by Drogheda Wheelers and sponsored by Drogheda Concentrates.
he success of the youth championships is a requisite for the development of Cycling Ireland. This younger generation have as their role models, maybe Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and closer to home Mark Scanlon.
Each championship will start and finish outside the gates of Coca Cola, in the Donore Rd. Industrial Estate. The event will be run over two days and the series will begin with a 1.9 mile time trial for all categories on the Saturday morning at 10am.
In the afternoon, a criterium which gets under way at 3.30pm over a course just under two miles round and the proceedings will come to an end with a road race based on the Coca Cola factory and with a lap distance of 5.8 miles. The champ's have attracted entries from the four provinces, but the promoting club is under no illusions as to the destinations of the medals, they are quietly confident that locals, Benner Maguire and Conor Campbell will be contention for a podium finish at the wrap up of the series.
In the normal run of events, Irish Championships per se are done and dusted on the day in a period of hours, but this particular event is a multi-faceted and is a mammoth undertaking for two long days.
Categories ranging from Under 11 up to Under 16 will have championship opportunities, so the promoters of the event have added a touch of novelty to the proceedings by adding in another race.
"We have decided to run a one-off race for Under 10 riders on a closed circuit," said organiser Gerard Campbell. "In the interest of safety which is of great importance to us all in the bike game, we will be bringing them on to the course and closing the gate behind us.
"There will be absolutely no traffic on the circuit and it should be a very good environment for the youngsters to have a bit of fun and race in safety.
"This race is open to all, any kind of bike from BMX to mountain bikes will be allowed and it is hoped there will be a good turnout on the day. The race will be run immediately after the final event in relation to the championships."
For additional information on anything related to the championships, contact Gerard Campbell on 086 8192205.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)