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Olympic news for September 10
Freire will go to Sydney
Despite being plagues by injury for the entire year, forcing an earlier than expected exit from the Vuelta, Spaniard Oscar Freire has said that he will go to Sydney this month for the Games. The World Champion, and winner of several races already this year was positive that he will be recovered from his back and leg injuries and back to his winning form by September 27.
He made the announcement during today's Vuelta stage that passed near his home in Torrelavega, northern Spain. His friends, fans, family, teammates and the Mayor of Torrelavega had unveiled a small monument in his honour near his house today, and he described himself as "very moved" by the tribute.
Freire will be one of the top favourites for the road race, as he is an accomplished sprinter and handy on the climbs. At the moment he is training on the roads near his home around Cantabria, alternating between long and short rides.
Kelly to try new pedal
Shane Kelly's infamous foot pulling incident in Atlanta four years ago has gone down as one of the biggest disappointments in track cycling history. When the gun went off in 1996 and Kelly's foot came out of the new toe straps he had put on, an audience of millions watched stunned as the Australian tried desperately to regain his pedal and continue to ride. The favourite had blown his chance and there were no restarts, the worst possible way to lose a race.
To recover from such a disaster and have to focus for another four years on just one event is an amazing testament to Kelly's determination and athletic character, and much has been written about it in the meantime. In less than one week, everyone will know the answer after Kelly goes up against the rest on the boards of the Dunc Gray velodrome next Saturday night.
This time, although there is no doubt that he will be the home town favourite, the rider he has to beat is French star, Arnaud Tournant who will aim to give his country one of hopefully many gold medals. Tournant is the world record holder after he set 1.00.148 in Mexico in June this year, bettering Kelly's old mark of 1.00.618 and almost breaking the 'magic minute'. Of course there are other favourites such as 30 year old German, Sören Lausberg who rode an excellent 1.01.96 in July to qualify for the team and put himself into medal contention.
This year, Kelly will attempt to use a non-slip pedal in the time trial, pending approval from the race commissaires. At last year's World track titles in Berlin, Kelly tried to use this specially designed pedal, but it was rejected. It will be a small but important step in Kelly's quest for gold.
Walsh: we're going to be competitive
By Perry Stone, cyclingnews.com correspondent
Australian Olympic cycling coach Charlie Walsh indicated during the team's final training camp in Rockhampton, Queensland, that their goal is to deliver a fiercely competitive team. The controversial, but often quiet in recent times, Walsh told cyclingnews.com that "Our riders feel confident in their ability, we are going to Sydney to compete."
"We are on track with our training regime and Rockhampton, with its ideal weather has provided a morale boost for the team."
One of Australia's four member sprint team, Darryn Hill commented on his own chances: "I finished fifth in Atlanta, but I think I am capable of a medal in all three events. But it all depends on whether or not you have a good week because someone else in the team could go out there and be at their best."
Clearly, the Aussies are as keen as ever to rip the legs off the competition next week.
Campbell banned for a year
British track cyclist, Neil Campbell, who was formerly in their Olympic squad, has been suspended for a year and fined 4,000 Swiss francs ($US 2,240) after it was confirmed that he gave a positive drug test. Campbell tested positive for the human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) hormone in July, a banned substance in cycling. The British Cycling Federation tested him twice, two weeks prior to and during the British Track Championships in July.
The was given followup medical tests after the results became known and was immediately withdrawn from the team. On Friday, September 8 he was not able to give an adequate explanation to the BCF as to the presence of the drug. He has been suspended until August 24, 2001 and disqualified from all events since July 13.
In the lead up to the Games, at least 11 athletes across all sports have shown "irregular results" for banned substances in drug tests since April, according to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The WADA have carried out over 1,800 tests of a total of 2,000 September 15, and 600 of these have yet to be analysed. The majority of the tests have been out of competition with no notice given.
Olympic training: Sydney Cycling Club
The Sydney Cycling Club is based in the centre of Sydney and rides often into the nearby Eastern Suburbs. Their president is Phil McKnight, who has detailed the following standard schedule for interested Olympians. Again, the rides are early in the morning, but are over good training routes.
Tuesdays: 30km loop through the Eastern Suburbs, out to Watsons Bay, taking in 4 hills. Start Centennial Park, Grand Drive adjacent to the Kiosk Restaurant, 6:00am, finish Coluzzi Bar Bondi Junction 7:10. Pace: Hammer the hills, cruise between.
Thursdays: 30km loop out to La Perouse and back to Centennial Park. Start Centennial Park, Grand Drive adjacent to the Kiosk Restaurant, 6:00am, finish at the start, 7:10. Pace: Easy out to Foreshore, hammer home.
Saturdays: 45km La Perouse Start Centennial Park, Grand Drive adjacent to the Kiosk Restaurant, 6:30am, finish at Coluzzi Bar Bondi Junction, 8:10. Pace: steady out to La Perouse, then it picks up, hammering back to Bondi.
Sundays: 90km Waterfall. Start Centennial Park, Randwick gates, Darley Rd adjacent to the Tafe College. Finish back at Centennial Park, 9:30. Pace: Cruise to Sutherland, picks up to Waterfall, hammers back to Sutherland, cruise back to Centennial Park.
Potential riders can check out their site at: www.sydneycyclingclub.org.au
More routes will be detailed in the coming days, and local club secretaries are welcome to email us at cyclingnews with ideas.