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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

First Edition Cycling News for August 24, 2004

Edited by Chris Henry

Relief for winning pursuit team

Photo ©:
Click for larger image

After winning the gold medal in the men's four kilometre team pursuit in Athens, the reaction in the Australian team was one of great satisfaction, but also relief. Heavy favourites since setting the world record time of 3:57.280 in Stuttgart a year ago, the Aussie quartet felt the pressure as it faced Great Britain in the Olympic gold medal round.

"We've had two years of pressure on us, coming into the Games," said Luke Roberts. "There has been eight guys working towards this, pushing towards the gold medal. To win three world championships as favourites and coming into the Olympics as favourites and come away with it is a huge relief.

"It's an unbelievable feeling and a fantastic achievement," he added. "To win an individual event is a great feeling for yourself and your family but to win a team event, it's four times that feeling. There, they are the mates you've been working with for weeks, months, years it's a very emotional feeling."

Click here for a complete wrap-up of day 4 on the track.

Mactier: Project LA

Australian cyclist Katie Mactier will have just 10 days off after her Olympic silver medal success, then it's Operation LA. Her coach John Beasley said Mactier would work on numerous areas of the 3000m individual pursuit once she returned to Melbourne, in preparation for the world track championships next March in Los Angeles.

Beasley, who stayed in Melbourne for the Games, spoke to Mactier and said she felt "weird" about her outstanding performance.

"After talking to her, she said she had this really weird feeling: she got silver, but she lost the race, whereas you win to get bronze," Beasley said.

"Of course, on reflection, she's also happy with doing her fastest times. I told her to work on expanding her skinfolds over the next few days, then the March worlds are our next goal. She will have enough time off over the next few days, then it's back into it."

New Zealand star Sarah Ulmer beat Mactier in Sunday night's pursuit final and between them they lopped an incredible six seconds off the world record at the Games. Their domination of the event this year and the retirement of Dutch legend Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel mean the two friends have started a rivalry that could go through to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

This was Mactier's third-straight silver medal in the pursuit at a major event, following her second placing behind Zijlaard-Van Moorsel at last year's worlds and finishing runner-up to Ulmer in May at the Melbourne world championships.

While Ulmer has been pursuiting for a decade, Mactier only took up the event last year and this gives Beasley plenty of encouragement.

"We still have a long way to go with the technical side of the event and we can address all these issues over the next 12 months," Beasley said.

He added the construction of a dedicated indoor velodrome in Melbourne would help Mactier enormously. The world championships venue at Vodafone Arena is only available for competition, meaning Mactier did a lot of her training on the road in Melbourne.

"She'd have the odd hit-out at the Carnegie track, which is outdoors, but you just can't use that track to really teach someone how to race the line," he said.

Beasley was referring to Mactier's ability to stay on the black line, the shortest-possible way around a velodrome. She was straying from the line at the May world's, but had tightened up considerably by the Olympics.

Beasley said he thought there were "a lot of areas" where he could work with Mactier on her pursuiting. He also admitted he was "still trying to come to terms" with six seconds being lopped off the world record at the Games.

Beasley put it down to the lightning-quick Athens track, plus Mactier and Ulmer specialising in the event.

"Other riders in the past have tried to combine it with other events," Beasley said.

He added Mactier would start a part-time marketing job after the Los Angeles world's to return some "normality" to her life. Beasley is not a national coach, but said he had no problems handing Mactier over to Games track endurance coach Ian McKenzie for Athens.


Hamilton to Vuelta

Phonak leader Tyler Hamilton will contest this year's Vuelta a España, according to a Marca report. The American, fresh off a gold medal performance in the Olympic time trial, will look for grand tour success after a disappointing Tour de France derailed by injury. The Vuelta begins September 4 in León.

Pineau wants Verona

Zurich podium
Photo ©: Sirotti
Click for larger image

Following his podium place at Sunday's Championship of Zurich, the 8th round of the World Cup, Jérôme Pineau (Brioches La Boulangère) is eager to get his ticket punched for Verona, Italy and this year's World Championships. Pineau, who showed he could mix with the sprinters with several top ten places in the Tour de France, put his speed to good use to finish for the first time on a World Cup podium in Switzerland.

"I've started to realize I can go pretty quickly," Pineau told l'Equipe after the race. "I'm less afraid to mix it in the sprints and I'm trying to follow the strongest guys right to the end. I keep telling myself that one day it'll pay off."

Pineau wasn't selected for the French national team in Athens, but hopes that his recent results, including a convincing win in the Tour de l'Ain, will convince national selector Frédéric Moncassin that he's ready.

"I think so, but I want Moncassin to tell me on Sunday at the GP Plouay if he wants me, so I can prepare properly," Pineau explained. "Last year I had to do prove myself right up until the end."

Pineau confessed that he would revisit his statements to Moncassin indicating disinterest in Verona after having been passed over for Athens. With a World Cup breakthrough comes confidence for the World Championships.

"In Verona I just need to get over the last hill," he said. "Then if I can do a sprint like I did here..."

Verbrugghe to Quick.Step

Quick.Step-Davitamon manager Patrick Lefevere has reached a deal to sign Belgian Rik Verbrugghe for one year. Verbrugghe, most often known for his time trial prowess, is a former winner of the Critérium International and the Giro d'Italia prologue. After several seasons struggling with injury and illness, Verbrugghe, 30, has shown signs of his best form recently including an eighth place at the Clasica San Sebastian World Cup race.

Verbruggen tips McQuaid

UCI President Hein Verbruggen has tipped Pat McQuaid of Ireland as his likely successor at the helm of the sport's governing body. Verbruggen, 63, is due to step down next fall and McQuaid has long been on the list of possibilities as a replacement.

"Already in 2001 I said I wasn't going to stay on as a candidate," Verbruggen commented from the Athens velodrome, quoted in Radsport-News. "But the World Cycling Centre project was in progress and I stayed to make sure it stayed on course."

The UCI's major undertaking for the coming years is the implementation of the new Pro Tour in road cycling, creating an elite league structure for 18 teams and the biggest competitions on the international calendar. Verbruggen will be on hand for the first season of Pro Tour competition, but is prepared to hand over control to his successor, which he seems comfortable indicating should be McQuaid. The Irishman is currently president of the UCI's Road Commission, member of the Management Committee, and is considered a respected ranking member of the organisation.

"The Pro Tour is in good hands," Verbruggen said.

Colombian doping sanctions

Four Colombian riders have been sanctioned by the national federation for doping offenses. Samuel Cabrera has been suspended for six months following a positive test for testosterone during the Clasica de Pasca. Edwin Sandoval has been suspended for six months after testing positive for nandralone at the Vuelta al Valle. Carlos Ospina is suspended for six months for a morphine positive at the Clasica Laboratorio de Paz. Finally, BMX rider Carlos Manuel Rivera has been suspended for three months marijuana use at a national event.

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(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2004)