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The current time in Athens is 02:35 on October 3, 2023

Olympic Cycling News for August 27, 2004

Edited by John Stevenson

Canadian women fired up for MTB

Canada's women's team (Alison Sydor, Marie-Helene Premont, Kiara Bisaro) is one of the favourites to put at least one rider on the podium in the women's MTB race tomorrow. They took a few minutes to speak with our correspondent Rob Jones on the eve of their race.

Alison Sydor

Cyclingnews: Could you talk about the course, who it favours, what type of rider should do well?

Alison Sydor: I came here in May and rode the test event, and it has loosened up considerably since then. It is a lot more tricky and technical, with sandy, loose ground. But, we expected that this would occur, so it isn't a big surprise.

On Monday we were able to ride most of it (the organizers were still fixing the burned section), and the one change that the fire made was to take away a road section at the top and cut a new technical section, which is a net advantage for us. The other part that was affected by the fire is the forest cover, but not the trail. So, as far as affecting the course, our preparation, there has been no effect.

CN: Who is the course going to favour?

AS: It's the same as always; it's not about the course, it is who is best prepared, best on the day. It is not like Canadian riding, but technical is still technical, so that favours us. This is the most competitive field ever at the Olympics, I think (Sydor has competed in both previous mountain bike events at the Olympics). It is pretty demanding climbing, lots of accelerations. All things combined make it hard - it is hard not to crash, to deal with the heat, it is wearing on you.

CN: Hardtail or soft?

AS: Hardtail

Click here for the rest of the interview

Previewing the Mountain Bike course

By Rob Jones in Athens

The start/finish area
Photo ©:
Click for larger image

With the women kicking off the Olympic mountain biking on Friday, we took the opportunity to have a look at the course on Thursday, a competition free day. We can report that it is very dusty and dry, with lots of loose, gravel sections. Not too much cover from the sun, especially after the fire, which took out a significant portion of the tree-covered section of the course. It is very hot, especially during the 11:00 to 1:00 time frame when the races will take place. Today it was at least 36C, and probably hotter on the open sections of the climbs.

Course description

From the start the riders will do a start loop that will take about 8 minutes and climbs up an access road before looping back through the start-finish to spread out the field. From there the riders head out on the six kilometre circuit. There are two loops that bring the riders back into the start-finish area twice per lap. Each has a climb and a descent.

The circuit begins by cutting across the burned out section, which the organizers are busy bulldozing and cutting down brush to clean things up, and goes through a technical rocky section, probably the most technical part of the circuit. From there they traverse the side of the hill along the edge of the burned section to the first climb. This follows along the edge of a rock face, dipping in and out of singletrack, with only a short portion of the climb on a fire road where passing can take place.

Click here for the full course description

Heinz out of women's MTB

Photo: © Rob Jones
Click for larger image

Swiss rider Petra Heinz is out of the Olympic mountain bike competition. She broke her left ankle Thursday in a crash on the course's long downhill on the eve of the women's event in Athens. Heinz crashed on a fast, non-technical section and twisted as she fell face first.





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