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cyclingnews@sydney 2000

The best field ever for a men's road race is coming to town ...

While many images of Australia feature the beautiful and arid outback, or perfectly formed, empty sandy beaches stretching into the horizon, Sydney is a bustling city of nearly five million people with world-class traffic jams and nearly all the traits of urban growth and decay.

It's also hosting the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, which will take place from September 15 to October 1, with the real cycling action taking place from September 16 to 21 for the track, then 23 to 24 for the mountain biking, and then 25 to 30 for the road races and individual time trials.
 

For the road racing discipline, the Olympics will see the largest selection of elite level male riders ever assembled in the country, all racing in serious competition and chasing medals which are increasing in stature with each olympiad. Although the standard of competitors will vary considerably, there will be 50 to 60 of the world's best riders doing more than checking out the scenery.

In the past, Australia has hosted rounds of the Women's World Cup for road racing, rounds of the MTB World Cup and a World Track Championships, every year there are motorcycle and Formula 1 GPs, but never a men's road race of this level.

For this reason there is considerable excitement building in the local cycling community. Many Sydney locals - which includes some cyclingnews staff - are looking forward to the prospect of taking a regular ride on local training roads and coming across the likes of Jalabert, Olano, Armstrong and Bartoli familiarising themselves with the tight and twisting course. Indeed, we may even enjoy a little more respect from other road users.

The road course remains a mystery for racing, except for local club riders on unofficial inter-club disputes. The beautiful new velodrome has already hosted some of the fastest men and women on two wheels, while the mountain bikers have tested the Fairfield MTB course - described as "balanced" with regard to technical and fitness aspects.

The Sydney road course leaves from one of the country's sporting icons - the Sydney Cricket Ground - and weaves its way through Centennial Park and then into a densely-populated urban area, visiting one of the beaches so close to the centre of Sydney and in that way, it is a reflection of the city's unique character.

On this course, there are absolutely no long flat unending straight roads for which Australia is well-known - this is course where TT specialists will seriously question a 54-tooth chain-ring.

And for this reason, the selection of national teams so far reflects widely varying interpretations of what type of race the road course will generate. The Italians have set the agenda with a team of noted climbers and one-day specialists on hilly courses, such as Pantani, Bettini and Bartoli. The Australians, meanwhile, have selected a squad with two noted sprinters in Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen. The Germans have of course selected Erik Zabel, who has developed beyond a pure sprinter and now has an insurmountable lead in this year's World Cup.

For full details on the team selections, please see our special section where we add the teams as they are announced.

For the past year, cyclingnews has been fielding a constant stream of enquiries from around the world asking about the Olympics course, places to ride and stay in Sydney. Many of you realise there is an Australian flavour to this site, although the majority of its correspondents live in Europe and the US. For one big race of the bike-racing calendar, some of us are fortunate enough to be able to walk out our office door, down the end of the street, across the park and watch the finish of the road races.

These are our training roads, our backyard. For this reason, you can expect the same level of informed and detailed race coverage of all disciplines from cyclingnews@sydney 2000.

Olympic News

General

  • Road course reversed - September 1999
  • Velodrome near completion - October 1999
  • August 31 - Australians prepare: McGee breaks collarbone, Vogels in France and Belgium, O'Grady unleaded and in Italy, McEwen on the mend
  • September 6 - Collinelli/Trentini, Pantani/Fusi, German setback, McGee back, Irish prepare, Olympic advice
  • September 7 - Rockhampton rockets, Van Moorsel's goals, Olympic training
  • September 10 - Freire to Sydney, Kelly to try new pedal, Walsh and the Aussies, Campbell banned, Olympic training
  • September 11 - Officials unhappy, Campbell denies, no IP for Dutch men, Japanese debut
  • September 13 - McGee and McGrory, Tournant, Women's IP, Andersson out, Ullrich and Klöden, Gonzalez for Etxeberria, Olympic training/racing
  • September 14 - First final: women's 500, Kelly's pedals OK, Germans want 8, Zabel's preparation, Italian controversy, Aussies in points?
  • September 15 - Lithuanians ride, Jeanson interview, Van Moorsel rates, Casey, Grichina out, Andersson?, O'Grady or McGrory?, Pantani, Zülle doubts, Aussie roadies, Magnien appeals, new features
  • September 16 - Let the Games begin, George Hincapie interview, Bellutti barred?
  • September 17 - First day wrap up, what's on tonight, Martinello clarifies, Olympians at Heffron
  • September 18 - Van Moorsel, McGee, day 3 preview, Gonzalez for TT?, Andersson back in
  • September 19 - Van Moorsel, her bike, Peter Keen, Magnien's fate, Antequera rates, Day 4 preview
  • September 20 - Records fall, Lance in Sydney, Pantani, Slovenians, British secret , day 5 preview
  • September 21 - Llaneras/points, Bartko pro, German gears, Van Moorsel's wheels, Hruska positive, tonight's action
  • September 23 - Track wrap up, what next?, off-road weekend, Merckx rates Armstrong, Hruska confirmed
  • September 24 - Pezzo's plan, Martinez favourite, Brentjens uncertain, Italian women in trouble
  • Septebmer 25 - Martinez, Van Dooren/Brentjens, Somarriba hopeful, Pantani in Bowral, Drug tests, rain
  • September 26 - Weather update, Italians rate road course, Boardman rates TT, Klöden for Germany, Italians tested
  • September 27 - Weather update, US team taken for a ride, Sřrensen likes it, Belgians miserable, women's race wrap up
  • September 28 - Men's race wrapup, Ullrich, forecast for the TT, Italians?, Jalabert, trade team influence, Jazy Garcia
  • September 29 - TT preview, Fusi regrets, Australian performance, Matt White/Jane Saville, party, Dutch protest, Channel 7
  • September 30 - Last race for Armstrong, weather update, Wilson's race, Telekom happy, Llaneras home
  • October 1 - Time trial wrapup, more Ekimov, Olano and Jalabert
  • October 3 - It's over, medal count, Olympic moments, pics

Team Selection

  • July 3 - Tyler-Sharman will not give up, Estonian Olympic Team
  • July 10 - US Olympic track team named, Australians getting tense, McCann scores last spot
  • July 15 - US MTB Team named, Somarriba: Plouay suits me better than Sydney, Swiss track team selected
  • July 18 - Lausberg's last chance, Canadian Olympic road team announced, Den Bakker says no to Sydney
  • July 20 - Watt, Sunderland, Dawson, Wooldridge not in, Australian and US Women's Olympic teams announced
  • July 22 - TT focus for Armstrong, Pantani for Sydney? But CONI still suspect him, Tanner to get Olympic support
  • July 27 - Italian men's road team, complete Canadian team, Dutch Track Team Austrian Road Team
  • July 30 - Sunderland to court, Track news, French track team and comments, Alison on Cheerios
  • August 2 - French and German road teams, US men's team, no Tchmil or Vandenbroucke, Boogerd niet, Zabirova defends
  • August 4 - British Track Team, Spanish preselection, Norwegian road team, Bairos nominated for US track team
  • August 6 - Sunderland's appeal unsuccessful, Laurence Leboucher rebounds
  • August 8-9 - Van Bon out then in, all appeals turned down, Watt to appeal to Arbitration Court, Dutch selection, tandem records smashed

Related competitions and test events

Drug testing and the Olympics

  • August 2 - EPO test approved by medical commission
  • September 2 - Testing times ahead: what's in store for the Games

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