First Edition Cycling News for August 20, 2004
Edited by Chris Henry
Motivation key for American TTs
Each of the three Americans who made the podium in the men's and women's individual time trials at the Athens Olympics cited their own sources of motivation for the event, and cycling in general. Tyler Hamilton and Bobby Julich, gold and bronze in the men's race, and Dede Demet-Barry, silver in the women's event, each put in career-defining performances Wednesday, particularly Hamilton who salvaged his season after injury forced his abandon from the Tour de France.
For Julich, who this year has returned to perhaps his best ever condition under the guidance of Team CSC director Bjarne Riis, the wisdom of the 1996 Tour winner has proven invaluable.
"Morale is much more a part of cycling than people realize," Julich said after the medal ceremony. "A change of team and the realization that this is a sport, and we should enjoy it, has made a big difference for me. When I was signed with CSC it gave me back my confidence.
"Riis has definitely changed me as a rider," Julich added. "He instilled confidence in me from day one. I've floundered around since 1998 for four or five years, but he has brought me back. I was thinking about quitting. He's a man of few words, but he can instill confidence in a rider."
Tyler Hamilton, who rode for CSC in 2002 and 2003, also paid tribute to his former director, as well as his compatriot Julich. "I owe a lot of credit to Bjarne Riis. Before CSC I had no confidence, and Bjarne taught me how to be a leader. It's good to see Bobby back riding to his potential."
What he lost in the Tour de France was another burning source of motivation for Hamilton, who found confirmation in his performance that withdrawal from the Tour was the right decision given the extent of his back injury.
"I could have been last in every race this year but this gold medal has made it an incredible season," he said. "This gold medal makes me forget about my big objective of the year, which was the Tour de France. Obviously that was a big disappointment for me, but that's life and you have to go forward and sometimes difficult circumstances like that in the Tour can lead to bigger and better things."
For Demet-Barry, inspiration for a silver medal performance came both from her husband Michael Barry, who contested the men's road race for Canada before returning to his training base in Spain to prepare for the Vuelta a España with US Postal Service, as well as the Olympic ideal of peaceful competition.
"Michael's been a big motivation to me both professionally and personally," she said. "He's been a really good friend to me, a great training partner. He's always there with me in spirit and so he was a big part of my ride [Wednesday].
"I've read a lot about the history of the Games in the last several weeks coming here. It has a lot of special meaning for me. I really feel I can identify with the Olympic movement for me and it drove me even farther in these races."
"The Olympics are about peaceful competition, and that's something I think is really positive," she continued. "Obviously there's been a lot of concern in the world the last couple of years, especially since 9/11. I think for me it takes on special meaning being part of the Olympics because it's about peace."
For the occasion, Demet-Barry had special shoe covers made by Team USA sponsor Pearl-Izumi, with white doves replacing stars on the American flag motif.
That's women's business
Can Van Moorsel take gold from the road to the track?
By Karen Forman
3 km pursuit
Just three months have passed since, on a chilly night Down Under in Australia, New Zealander Sarah Ulmer modestly snatched the women's individual pursuit world record right from under reigning record holder and former world champion, Dutchwoman Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel's nose, when the pair faced off in the qualifying rounds
After setting the new record of 3.30.604 (Van-Moorsel's four year old record of 3.30.816 was set in a qualifying round at the Sydney 2000 Olympics), Ulmer then continued her winning run, taking the gold medal in an event the Dutch rider has made her specialty. In fact, after setting her record in Sydney, Van-Moorsel then went on to win the gold medal.
In Melbourne in May, the 34 year old Van Moorsel, who finished in fifth spot with her 3.35.347, was very accepting of losing her record. "The record was standing for four years and you have to accept that someone can break it," she told Cyclingnews. "Sarah was in very good shape. I saw her riding in training, she was looking very good and I also saw her race in Sydney. I thought if anyone can break the record, it can be Sarah."
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Eight Men's Olympic titles up for grabs
By Mal Sawford
Olympic Gold is arguably the most highly sought after trophy in the cycling world, and at the Athens Velodrome, eight Gold Medals are on offer over five days of competition. While some events have suffered from disappointing crowd numbers, Olympic organisers were delighted to announce that the entire track cycling program had sold out before the Games were under way.
The 2004 World Championships held in Melbourne, Australia in May doubled as the final Olympic qualifiers for most events. Based on performances in Melbourne, strong teams from Australia, France, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands are expected to dominate in Athens. Coaches have until the start of the competition to finalise their start lists, and in many cases like to keep their opponents guessing!
The 250 metre Athens velodrome is partly covered: the roof will provide shade and protection from wet weather, but allows winds to blow across the track - which may result in slow times.
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Norwegian cyclist Anita Valen has apologised to Australian gold medallist Sara Carrigan for a newspaper article implying that the Olympic road race winner was a drug cheat. The Norwegian Olympic Committee (NOC) ordered Valen to apologise to Carrigan after quotes attributed to her in Norway's biggest newspaper Verdens Gang questioned the Gold Coast rider's win on Sunday.
"It's important for us and Sara Carrigan to make it known we believe it wasn't fair the quotes Anita Valen gave and she (Valen) totally agrees," said NOC director of communications Halvor Lea.
"Anita has spoken to Sara, they have ended the case and shaken hands. It was not good sportsmanship to speak about your opponent. She says the quotes weren't taken directly and could be taken in another way but that is no excuse not to apologise.
"We have been very clear to her that it is not acceptable to make suspicious quotes about competitors and she totally agrees. She can always say that she was misquoted but that doesn't matter.
"We feel Anita has grown up and shown good sportsmanship to make contact with Sara and personally give her an apology. She hasn't meant to hurt her in any way. There won't be any disciplinary action further than that."
After the Australian Olympic Committee demanded an apology and retraction, the NOC verbally apologised and was due to send a letter.
Valen and Carrigan had a frosty relationship when they rode together in the Power Plate-BIK team in Europe last year when the Norwegian was unhappy riding as a domestique for her teammate.
Although she didn't directly accuse Carrigan of taking banned substances, Valen, who finished 14th in the road race, jumped on the drugs scandal engulfing Australia's track cyclists. Verdens Gang quoted her talking about "the secret room in their sports facility" and questioning Carrigan's buildup to Athens during which she did not compete for two months.
Valen said Carrigan did not figure in her list of potential winners and came from nowhere to claim the gold.
Van Moorsel to end in January
Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel, who successfully defended her Olympics time trial gold medal Wednesday in Athens, has announced she will effectively end her professional career at the conclusion of this season. Zijlaard-Van Moorsel's schedule has been set through November, though she will make a farewell appearance in early January, 2005 at the Six Days of Rotterdam in her native Netherlands, according to an ANP report.
Fédrigo joins Bernaudeau
Pierrick Fédrigo, winner of stage 2 in the Tour du Limousin and current leader of the French stage race, will join team director Jean-René Bernaudeau in his newly dubbed Bouyges Telecom formation next year. Bouyges, which takes over as title sponsor from Brioches La Boulangère, has signed a two year deal with Fédrigo, who currently rides for Crédit Agricole.
"Pierrick is a young and explosive rider," Bernaudeau told l'Equipe. "His integration in the team will be easy, since he's very close to Jérôme Pineau."
Gonzalez-Lampre deal falls short
Colombian Freddy Gonzalez, expected to ride the Vuelta a España in the colours of the Italian Lampre team, has been forced to make alternative plans during Spain's national tour come September. The deal to take Gonzalez to Lampre could not be finalised in time, as the Italian company's president is unable to sign the paperwork before September 10, too late for a Vuelta start.
Gonzalez still expects to join Lampre for 2005, but will remain with Colombia-Selle Italia for the remainder of this season, or at least through the Vuelta a Venezuela (August 30-September 12). Gonzalez is a former winner of the Tour of Langkawi and the mountains classification in the Giro d'Italia.
Cafés Baqué reinforces
The Spanish Cafés Baqué team has added reinforcements with the Vuelta a España in mind. Last year the team made a late addition of Colombian Felix Cardenas, who confirmed his potential with stage win and the mountains jersey in the Vuelta. This year Cafés Baqué has picked up two more Colombians, Herberth Gutierrez (Orbitel) and Ivan Parra (Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme), as well as Spaniards David Plaza and Curro Garcia from Antarte-Rotas dos Moveis.
Cardenas is expected to help lead the team again in this year's Vuelta, despite suffering a fractured wrist in a fall last week. Joining Cardenas and the new recruits will be Peio Arreitunandia, Hernan Buenahora, Aitor Perez Arrieta, and Fernando Torres.
Three young riders have been given the chance to prove themselves this fall with the Belgian Division I Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team. Manager Gerard Bulens has offered stagiaire positions to Jean-Claude Lebeau, Jean-Paul Simon, and Jurgen Van Loocke. The three will join the pro ranks from September 1 to the end of the season, hoping to earn a full contract next year.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)