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The current time in Athens is 11:14 on November 24, 2014

Olympic Cycling News for August 8, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Yates set for Olympics, pro ranks

New Zealander Jeremy Yates is gearing up for two big stepping stones in his career, the Olympic Games in Athens and his first professional contract. Yates will represent his country in the road race in Athens, albeit on his spare bike after his primary road machine took an untimely tumble from a car roof rack on the Belgian autoroute.

In contract news, Yates will sign a two year deal with French Division I team Crédit Agricole. He will begin riding with the team in September of this year, hoping to prepare for his final participation in the U23 world championships.

"Because its a French team it will be good to get to know the new environment, riders, staff etc.," Yates said of the early start. "I am very happy with this team, which has a history of strong Commonwealth riders, and hope that I can mature and grow into a top professional rider under their direction."

Kersten reacts to reports

Australian track cyclist Ben Kersten has reacted to reports that he may have been slipped a drug by a teammate in Moscow last year. Kersten joined the Australian Olympic track squad at a training camp this week in Buttgen, Germany, as a replacement for Jobie Dajka, who was expelled from the team for untruthful testimony in the Anderson Inquiry Report.

"I've never accused nor would I ever accuse my team mates of such a crime," Kersten said in a written statement. "In fact I would never think them capable of doing such a thing. It was the most awful and demoralising experience I have ever been through or wish to go through in the future but I have chosen to put it in the past where it belongs."

"I am angry and disgusted by the actions of the person who thinks ‘slinging mud’ and making accusations like this is just and appropriate especially considering the personal and permanent trauma the incident produced," he said. "They should be ashamed of themselves."

An AAP report on Cyclingnews on Friday quoted Phill Bates, a fomer board member of Cycling Australia and the president of Kersten's Sydney club, who believed, "It had to be someone playing a prank from his own team or a New Zealander."

With the disruptions to the Australian track cycling team's preparations for the Olympics in Athens, Kersten's integration into the team after Dajka's 'termination' was an additional source of stress.

"I acknowledge my reception was not exactly as I hoped but understand the reasons and sympathise with the frame of mind of the other athletes and the difficulties they have faced," he explained.

"However the current situation is that time has healed any initial tension and the professionalism of the entire team has won through. Everyone, including myself, is settled, focused and getting on with our preparation for Athens, which I might add is progressing extremely well for all of us."

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