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28th Olympic Games - JO
Athens, Greece, August 14-28, 2004
August 21: Men's Team Sprint finals
Germany take gold from surprising Japanese
France settles for bronze against the Aussies
The German Team Sprint squad of Jens Fiedler, Stefan Nimke and Rene Wolff has triumphed in the gold medal final against Japan, clocking 43.980 seconds for the three laps (750m) compared to Japan's 44.246 seconds. The Germans were justifiably proud of their efforts, especially as France, Australia and Great Britain were all tipped as gold medal favourites.
"It's so emotional for me," said lead out man Jens Fiedler. "It's my fourth Olympic Games, my third gold and maybe my last race. When I won in 1992 and 1996, I was young. Now the emotion is different. I trained everyday for this race and I am glad it worked so well."
The surprise package of the day was the Japanese squad of Toshiaki Fushimi, Masaki Inoue and Tomohiro Nagatsuka, which qualified third fastest, then beat the Netherlands in round 1 to make it through to the final with the best time of all the round 1 winners of 44.081 seconds. In the final, Germany was too strong, but Japan still came away with the silver. "We are very happy with silver," said Masaki Inoue. "It's great for Japan's riders."
In the ride off for bronze, fastest qualifiers France (Bourgain, Gane, Tournant) accounted for Australia (Eadie, Bayley, Kelly) in a time of 44.359 seconds compared to 44.404 seconds for the Aussies. The French were the favourites for gold after qualifying fastest in 44.179, but their round 1 ride against Greece in 44.128 was not fast enough to get them into the final. "We are disappointed," said Laurent Gane. "We were the favourites, we came here to win gold. We found two stronger teams than us."
The Australian team struggled in qualifying to finish fifth in 44.512, but bettered that in round 1 to beat Spain in 44.320. Clearly suffering from a lack of depth after Jobie Dajka's exclusion before the Games, Australia was not up to the task of gaining a medal today. In fact, Dajka's replacement Ben Kersten was not even used, and looks unlikely to race at all in Athens.
mages by www.epicimages.us
Images by AFP Photo
For the bronze 3 France 17.722 (1) 30.688 (1) 44.359 (60.867 km/h) Mickael Bourgain Laurent Gane Arnaud Tournant 4 Australia 18.048 (2) 30.840 (2) 44.404 (60.805 km/h) Ryan Bayley Sean Eadie Shane Kelly For the gold and silver 1 Germany 17.708 (2) 30.673 (1) 43.980 (61.391 km/h) Jens Fiedler Stefan Nimke Rene Wolff 2 Japan 17.612 (1) 30.689 (2) 44.246 (61.022 km/h) Toshiaki Fushimi Masaki Inoue Tomohiro Nagatsuka