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Olympic news for September 19
Van Moorsel comments
After winning the women's individual pursuit last night, Leontien Van Moorsel finally rid herself of her Olympic 'obsession' with a gold medal. The Dutch coach, Peter Pieters believes that Leontien will win at least three gold medals: "Her biggest problem is that she's too talented".
Leontien added some more comments about her ride: "We had made a deal: not to look at Marion. But after 2 km I saw her behind and you have to believe me that I didn't have such good legs today. I was still tired from Sunday so a new world record wasn't possible after yesterday," she said.
"But it was a great feeling to get gold, and I had a few tears with the national anthem. I'm so glad for my family and the family of Michael. They had to live with me for the last few months and that isn't easy," she added.
"The points race isn't important for me. I wanted another Dutch team mate instead of me to do it, so I'm not thinking about it yet. First I will celebrate this medal tonight and we will see within a few days about the other races," she said.
Van Moorsel also commented about her nails, that were painted red, white and blue "I saw the beautiful nails of our Dutch swimmer Wilma van Rijn. 'I want that as well,' I said. And she painted the national flag on my nails in two hours."
What about the bike?
Leontien's World Record and gold medal were not only ridden on an Australian track, but also on an Australian bike. There were no markings to signify this on the slick machine built to UCI specifications, but cyclingnews.com confirmed with Cycling Australia's Ray Godkin that it was indeed an Australian built bike.
The story started last December when Van Moorsel was out in Australia to check out the road and the time trial course. Godkin personally took her round each, and she was less than pleased with the parcours. "Too many corners," she said at the time and decided to concentrate on the track.
A trip out to the newly finished Dunc Gray Velodrome was in order, and Leontien was immediately impressed with the track. "She loved it," said Godkin who added that she also tried out Rochelle Gilmore's Sal Sansonetti/Brian Hayes designed BT track bike.
"We stuck her on, and she trained with her husband on the track. 30 minutes later, we couldn't get her off! She loved the bike and the track, and wanted one to ride. Sal Sansonetti and Brian Hayes arranged to build one for her, but with her own sponsor on the bike," said Godkin.
"She's a super bike rider. The moment she told me she would ride, I was convinced that she'd win...I presented the flowers to her last night. She was so pleased and so am I - a gold medal and a world record on a standard, Australian built bike, and on an Australian track."
Peter Keen - UK coach
The UK coach Peter Keen has certainly shown his influence this week after the Brits have performed so well on the track. Ride of the night last night was surely Yvonne McGregor's fightback from nearly two seconds down with 1 km to go, to eventually win the bronze medal in the women's individual pursuit. She beat Kiwi Sarah Ulmer in the closest finish imaginable, by sticking to her schedule while Keen calmly urged her on.
Keen said that Italian Antonella Bellutti's bike should have been disqualified, as it goes against the spirit of the competition and what the new rules are trying to achieve. However, Bellutti wasn't helped greatly by the bike, as she failed to qualify in the top four.
Keen, who was also Chris Boardman's trainer assisted kilo gold medallist Jason Queally, who is a former water polo player with good aerobic capacity. Queally tried triathlon but was then coaxed onto the track and hasn't looked back.
Magnien's fate - Capelle in
The French men's road team will finally have its national champion, Christophe Capelle, after it was announced that Emmanuel Magnien was definitely excluded from the Olympic Games. Magnien was initially picked for the team, but returned a positive drug test for an unauthorised cortisone injection during the Tour de France.
The French Cycling Federation decided to suspend him for 6 months with deferment, meaning that he could compete at the Olympics. However, the UCI overruled this and wanted the suspension effective immediately. Magnien took his case to the French Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) and the verdict was announced in Sydney last night. Magnien will be given six months starting August 24, three of which have to be served immediately.
The penalty is half way between the UCI and the FFC, but it means that Magnien will not be eligible for the World Championship road race in Plouay, October 15.
Magnien was stunned at the decision, calling it "unjust...I am incredulous as to the reasons for it....I am nauseated by it," he said in an official statement afterwards.
His replacement, Christophe Capelle will fly out to Australia today.
Antequera rates the Spanish
Spanish national selector, Francisco Antequera, believes that Olano will be a strong contender for the gold medal in the Olympic time trial in Sydney. After the finish of the Vuelta, he rated his team as good chances in both the road race and the time trial, but pointed to Olano's win in Tarragona as a guide to his form over a technical course.
"You can see that we have many options to medal, as the circuit, with its many corners, suits both of them [Olano and Gonzalez] very well. They have the condition and the quality, but the gold will depend on Lance Armstrong, who is not as good a technician for the corners compared with our riders, but in great form," he said to Spanish newsagency EFE.
"The road course does not suit us as well. We would have preferred one a bit tougher, as the Sydney course is too flat. However, we have good options with Freire and Perdiguero as well as Juan Carlos Domínguez," he added.
"In the road race, it will be necessary to control the breaks, because in the nature of this competition a reduced bunch of riders will finish. Freire and Perdiguero also will have to be watchful of this," he finished.
Day 4 preview
This evening is a short session at the Dunc Gray Velodrome, with just the quarter finals of the men's and women's sprint, and the finals of the team pursuit on the schedule. The latter will be raced as semi-finals (Germany v France, Great Britain v Ukraine) followed by the finals later in the evening. The sprints will be best of three matches, with the following pairs against each other:
Marty Nothstein (USA)
v Craig Maclean (GBr)
(Fra) v Tanya Lindenmuth (USA)