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Olympic news for September 18
Van Moorsel's record
Leontien Ziljaard-Van Moorsel overcame any doubts that she had prior to the women's individual pursuit by qualifying fastest, then bettering that with a new world record in the semi-final. She faces Marion Clignet in tonight's final, and is now the favourite after recording such impressive times. She described her ride last night in a TV interview:
"No, I didn't plan to ride a world record. But I rode for the sick son of my sister. I promised to bring a medal with me from Sydney, and now I know it is at least a silver one. My condition is fine and has to wait now until Monday night. I promise you: I will be nervous again. But that's normal for me. Even before a criterium in the Netherlands I'm always nervous," said Van Moorsel.
"I still haven't decided about starting in the points race. I said I would do it if I had a good pursuit, but I'm still scared with a lot of riders on the track. But first of all I will concentrate for the final on Monday," she added.
She commented about the French team, especially Marion Clignet, "We trained with the French girls, and first I felt good until the whole French team came on the track. They went very fast, so I was a little bit scared, but you saw what happened today. First an Olympic record and than a World record. I know what to do tomorrow: give everything I have in 3.5 minutes."
Comments from Macca
Brad McGee's bronze medal ride last night almost lifted the roof off the Dunc Gray Velodrome, as he managed to "outsprint" Briton Rob Hayles in the last two laps to come from behind. Both riders went under their qualifying times to record personal bests, and both did under 4:20. It was a thrilling finish for the entire audience, and not just the English and the Australians.
"I was very patient. That was my race plan. I spoke to Charlie (Walsh) earlier to go out a bit easier and just sit there, sit there, sit there and be patient. I tell you what; the hardest thing I had to do in my career was sit there and be patient and let a bloke ride away from me in a final for a bronze medal. But it's what I had to do to win," he related afterwards.
"We just stuck to our plan - I had no idea that we were going that quick. I was just racing the pommy on the other side of the track...It was the first time I'd gone under 20," he added.
Day 3 preview
At the Dunc Gray Velodrome today there is a packed program of events. In the morning session, the all important men's and women's sprint qualifying rounds will be held, followed by the men's team pursuit qualifying. In the evening's sprint program, rounds one, two and the repechage of the men, and the 1/8 final of the women will be held. The team pursuit will have its semi finals and the crowd should be treated to some beautiful precision riding, as the likes of Russia, Germany, Italy, France, Australia, Great Britain, and outside chance, New Zealand vie for the gold.
Interspersed between these is the women's 3000 metre individual pursuit finals - can Leontien Ziljaard van Moorsel set another World Record to beat Marion Clignet for the gold, or will last night's effort take too much out of her? And who will win the bronze medal - the experienced Yvonne McGregor of Great Britain, or Kiwi Sarah Ulmer? Catch all the action as it happens on cyclingnews.com.
Gonzalez for TT?
In winning the final time trial of the Vuelta a Espaņa, Santos Gonzalez (ONCE) showed the Spanish selectors that he should be the second to Abraham Olano in Sydney. Possibly even the first after he put a minute into his teammate in Madrid.
"The stage win was the prize - I gave everything I had left to finish on the podium. I liked the circuit and knew that I could ride a good race on it. My objective was the podium, but Tonkov did not fail," he said.
"I have raced with tendinitis since the Angliru, and I even considered abandoning. For that reason, I dedicate my win to the team doctors."
Regarding his late inclusion in the Spanish team at David Etxebarria's expense, he said "I have been criticised as if I am the one in charge. Those who wrote such things don't know anything about cycling," he added.
Andersson out...and in again
Michael Andersson will race for Sweden in the Olympic time trial after a late decision was made by the rider. He recieved approval from the Swedish Olympic committee, and the next question will be whether can can fully recover from his blood poisoning that forced him into hospital last weekend.
Marcus Ljungqvist was to substitute for Andersson but will now have to remain on the sidelines again unless another development takes Andersson out of the race.