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The current time in Athens is 20:26 on September 23, 2023

Olympic Cycling News for August 18, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Gané hopes to end with gold

At 31 years old, France's Laurent Gané sees retirement at the end of this season, but not before a final push for Olympic gold in Athens. The track rider, a former world champion in the individual sprint and member of the accomplished French national team, has accomplished all of his goals in the sport except the top step on the Olympic podium.

"I'm aiming for gold in the sprint and the team sprint," Gané told Reuters several days before track competition begins in Athens. "I would like to finish [my career] with an Olympic title. It's the only thing missing from my palmarès."

Gané also spared no criticism of the doping scandal surrounding the Australian track team leading up to the Olympics, saying "naturally I've followed the affair in Australia. It's good to see the fight against doping catching people, since it's true there have been a number of riders whose profession surprised us."

Without question, the Olympics in Athens will be Gané's final event as a professional, after which he will return to his native New Caledonia to work as a coach of young riders.

"If I'm here, that means I'm not too old," he insisted, defending his own chances. "But this is my last big competition. After this, it's up to the next generation."

50-50 Chance for Kersten

Following the controversy of doping allegations, selection appeals and counter appeals, Australian track cycling coach Martin Barras said team members were now talking to each other.

Barras said there was a 50-50 chance that Ben Kersten, who was replaced when Sean Eadie was cleared of doping allegations and recalled to the team once Jobie Dajka was dumped for the same reason, would ride. He is confident of a medal in the team sprint but said he had not run the combination before and would only name the team on Friday for Saturday's races.

Kersten complained of being sidelined when he joined the team at their German training camp but Barras said the team had pulled together.

"Everybody's talking to everybody and is getting on with the job of getting ready," Barras said.

Perth rider Ryan Bayley said he was confident and came to the Olympics to win, but while he hasn't been in the headlines or in court, the controversy surrounding the team had taken a toll.

"It's knocked a few people around, it has knocked me around a little bit, but I believe we're all coming out stronger," he said.

The 22-year-old is certain he'll finish in the top three of the sprint.

"I want to win everything possible ... being realistic I reckon in the team sprint we've got a reasonable chance. In the sprint I believe I have a very good chance... I believe the top three is a definite for me."

Barras said he was not into number crunching or medal predictions but believed the Australians were ready and would finish the Olympics as the best cycling team in the world.


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