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Olympic selection news for July 22
TT focus for Armstrong
Lance Armstrong, current Maillot Jaune in this year's Tour de France, and winner of all three Tour time trials in 1999, has reaffirmed his commitment to the Sydney Olympic Time Trial in 2 months time. His goal is the time trial, as this is a race less affected by chance. He said last night before the 58.5 km Fribourg-Mulhouse time trial that "I know I can train specifically for the time trial...it will be my main goal in Sydney."
His time trialling nemesis, Jan Ullrich may have something to say about that, as will David Millar and Laurent Jalabert. The Sydney time trial course is quite different to any encountered on the Tour however, as it is both hillier and more technical.
Pantani for Sydney?
The Italian Olympic road team has yet to be named, but a certain Marco Pantani has put himself back into contention with the selector of the 'Squadra Azzuri', Antonio Fusi. Despite having spent himself during the Tour, Pantani managed to take two stage wins along the way and showed he had a semblance of his former condition. After his Giro comeback, Pantani found his way into Fusi's good books, but his Tour results may mean he is given one of the five berths in Sydney.
There is one condition though, and that is that Pantani makes the Olympics his one main goal for the remainder of the year. Fusi will discuss this with Pantani in one week's time. Other riders touted as favourites for the Italian team are Bartoli, Bettini, Casagrande, Di Luca, Pantani and Rebellin.
But CONI still suspect him...
Sandro Donati, a member of the scientific commission of CONI (the Italian Olympic Committee) told a radio station in Rome today that he has doubts about the results of Marco Pantani in this year's Tour de France.
"He shocked us with his positive and negative presentations. One thing is for sure, doping has not disappeared in cycling. The only thing that has changed is the method," said Donati who believes that artificial hemoglobin is being used more widely now in place of EPO.
Tanner to get Olympic support
Olympic nominee and British national road champion, John Tanner is already starting his preparations for the Olympic Road race in two months time. All the 32 year-old requires is approval from the British Olympic Association, but he's as good as in.
He is trying for funding from the BCF's World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) to help with his build up. An application for such has been submitted to the Lottery. In the meantime, Tanner will be joining the WCPP's Track Endurance squad for training races abroad.
Last weekend, Tanner joined Team Pursuit hopefuls Chris Newton, Paul Manning and Bryan Steel in Italy, where they rode the 23rd Freccia Del Vini, a UCI 1.6 category road race. Tanner was the only GB rider to finish in 14th place. He will now continue his domestic racing commitments.
Mountain biker Louise Robinson, another athlete likely to be competing in Sydney, but not currently Lottery funded, is also being assisted by the BCF' s World Class Performance Programme in her preparations for the Olympics.
Russian time trial specialist and Olympic Champion, Zulfia Zabirova is on the mend after she crashed recently in a local road race. Although at first her condition was said to be serious after she hit her head on some cobblestones during the race, she is now reported to be OK. She is now in preparation for the final Russian Olympic selection events to be held from July 27 to August 2.