Men and women put through their paces at Hampton Court
With less than 24 hours to go to the two time trial races at the 2012 London Olympic Games, the area surrounding London's Hampton Court Palace is being prepared meticulously for the arrival of thousands of fans, the world's media and the best time trial riders in the world.
As the final checks were made, many of the riders tested the course ahead of tomorrow's push for gold. Men's favourite Bradley Wiggins got in some last minute prep alongside his Team GB colleagues Chris Froome, Lizzie Armitstead and Emma Pooley while representatives from other nationalities also got a last look at what lies in store tomorrow. There was also plenty of opportunities for opportunistic young autograph hunters to add to their collections.
Armstrong, Neben and Phinney discuss London's race of truth
The United States boasts three riders in the 2012 London Olympic Games individual time trials on Wednesday - Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben and Taylor Phinney.
Armstrong heads into the 29 kilometer women's event as defending champion, having won gold in Beijing four years ago from Emma Pooley (Great Britain) and Karin Thurig (Switzerland). Hers was the first medal for the US cycling team in Beijing.
"It's very special, but there is also some pressure," Armstrong said of her role. "I feel the pressure. Normally, a day or two before the time trial, I start feeling stress. Knowing that I am coming back trying to defend, I know I have a target on my back."
The 38-year-old finished 35th in Sunday's road race after a tonne of work after teammates Shelley Olds punctured while in the winning break. Armstrong crashed at the bottom of Box Hill, injuring her left side where she broke her clavicle May 24 after crashing during the prologue time trial of the Exergy Tour in her hometown of Boise, Idaho. Surgeons repaired the break with one screw the following morning and returned to racing at the Cascade Cycling Classic in late July.
"I am recovering from the hard effort on Sunday. It was a hard race," she admitted. "Everyone is trying to take two days to recover. The men have three days between, the women have two. The men raced longer, but when you're at this level, there is no fitness to be gained now. It's all about resting and recovering for tomorrow.
"I think the hurt that I am going to suffer during the race is by far going to outweigh the hurt that is on my elbow. It's a little sensitive, but it will not affect me. Once I am...
Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) will look to make history on Wednesday as he aims to win the gold medal in the Olympic Games time trial. A medal of any kind would not only make Wiggins a medallist on both track and road, but it would also see him overhaul Steve Redgrave's British Olympic tally.
Wiggins has already won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in his Olympic career but after such a dominant season against the clock, he will start as the favourite for Wednesday's event.
Wiggins has only tasted victory in time trials [excluding prologues] so far this year with wins in the Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France. His final two victories in the individual time trials at this year's Tour appear to have given the 32-year-old the necessary belief to claim gold.
"I think going back to the Tour, to that first press conference in Liège, this is one hour, so that's the baseline of worst-case scenario and pressure and expectation lying ahead of you and we handled that pretty well, so an hour time trial to make history should be a doddle," he told reporters.
"That Tour de France is such a boot camp for this. This should be a piece of piss in terms of expectations and pressure. It's just an hour not three weeks so it's been the best preparation."
Wiggins's dominance in both the Besançon and Chartres time trials saw him beat the majority of his rivals for Wednesday, including Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin. Both the Swiss and German have proven pedigrees against the clock but Wiggins's focus has remained on his performance and the numbers he's churned out in both training and racing as he looks to continue his Tour form.
Rogers, a three-time former world time trial champion, is the nation's only male representative in the race following the withdrawal of Cadel Evans after the men's road race.
The 32-year-old is coming off the Tour de France where rode in support of Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins where he became the first British winner of the grand boucle. Rogers told Cyclingnews in January that he was ready to renew his focus on the chrono having become "really bored" with its punishing training regime.
"Mick had a really good Tour and he has set himself up for this," Ryan told the Australian Financial Review. "He's very keen to do well."
As for the man himself, Rogers is quietly confident that he can step onto the podium at the end of the day.
"I like it [the course] - it's fast, I have good legs and it's a good course for me," he told AAP.
"I can only go off the past, can't I.
"For the one-day time trials I'm always up around the mark.
"I certainly hope to go a good ride, I feel fresh today, that's a good sign."
Rogers is still chasing a bronze medal from the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 after the USA's Tyler Hamilton handed back his gold...
Tygart says it's further evidence of conspiracy to cover up US Postal wrong-doings
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency boss Travis Tygart has rubbished claims by Dr Luis Garcia del Moral and his lawyer that he received a lifetime ban because he wouldn't co-operate with the Lance Armstrong investigation.
Del Moral's lawyer, Juan de Dios Crespo Pérez, told the USA Today that they were approached by USADA on the premise of gathering information regarding Armstrong and his alleged doping practices, and not the doctor.
"He declined because it would not be true," said Pérez. "He has no current connection with Lance, so it would not cost him anything to say that, but it would not be true."
Del Moral was the team physician for the US Postal Service Cycling Team from 1999 through 2003. He was accused of helping cyclists including the USPS team members to carry out performance enhancing doping including blood transfusions as well as saline infusions to prevent the doping from being detected by blood value checks. Del Moral was also accused of administering EPO, testosterone, corticosteroids and human growth hormone, all of which are banned by the WADA code.
Del Moral was famously videotaped disposing of the USPS team's medical waste at the 2000 Tour de France, which journalists searched, finding packages of Actovegin, an extract of calf's blood. The incident was investigated by the French authorities, but was eventually closed without action.
“I’m happy to reveal that, after eight years of racing with French teams, I have decided to head in a new direction and have signed a two-year deal with one of the strongest teams in the world, the Danish registered Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank team,” Roche wrote.
Roche was first approached earlier this year by Saxo Bank sports director Nick Gates, who subsequently put him in contact with Riis. “Those few minutes that we spent talking about the possibility of me joining his team almost gave me goosebumps,” Roche said of his first phone conversation with Riis.
Roche acknowledged that eyebrows would be raised at his decision to join a team managed by Riis, who confessed to doping during his career, and led by Alberto Contador, who is banned until August 6th for his positive test for clenbuterol at the 2010 Tour de France.
“I know some people will immediately question my choice of teams,” Roche said. “While the sport’s governing body and the various anti-doping bodies are doing more and more to clean up cycling and the holes in the net are closing up, it’s hard to name any professional team without doping links to the past, whether it’s with a member of staff or rider.”
Roche noted in his Irish Independent column that his switch to Saxo Bank had met the approval of his father Stephen. For the past four seasons, he has been managed by Stephen Roche’s former Fagor teammate...