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The current time in Athens is 19:44 on September 23, 2023
Olympic Cycling News for August 29, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Aussies dusted in Athens
It wasn't for lack of trying, but the two Australian team members in the men's Olympic cross country mountain bike race Saturday had a tough time matching the feats of their colleagues on the track. Sid Taberlay and Josh Fleming finished 23rd and 31st, respectively, in the tough two hour event won by France's Julien Absalon. An early race pile up proved costly for many, including the two Aussies.
Taberlay's foot came out of the pedal at the start and after finding himself stuck in a pileup, and the Tasmanian's race was virtually over before it got going.
"I got a really bad start, a bit of a pileup and then another pileup and I ended up last in the starting group," Taberlay said. "I basically blew up trying to get through all the traffic in the first lap.
"I struggled for the rest of the race," he added. "I was just groveling after that. It wasn't my day."
From 44th through the starting loop, he fought his way into the top 20 and got to as high as 18th in the fourth of seven laps but faded in the closing circuits.
Fleming simply said he never got going. Absalon completed the seven laps in two hours, 15 minutes, 02 seconds, to finish 11:14 ahead of Taberlay, who himself was 3:38 clear of Fleming.
Australia's mountain bikers were never expected to match the deeds of their track teammates, although 19-year-old Lisa Mathison did well to finish 10th Friday for her best result in senior competition.
"I would have loved a top 10 finish like Lisa who was so consistent yesterday," Taberlay said. "I was also consistent today, just slow consistent."
Absalon's medal was the first cycling gold of the Games for the traditionally strong French, while Australia ended up with six gold, two silver and two bronze.
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