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Olympic Cycling News, June 20, 2008

Date published:
June 20, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • US Olympic track team coming into focus

    Taylor Phinney placed 8th
    Article published:
    June 20, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor Last week the top contenders for the few spots on the United...

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    Last week the top contenders for the few spots on the United States of America Olympic track cycling team met in Carson, California at the ADT Center to make their final case for selection and try to circumvent the process by earning automatic nominations. While Taylor Phinney and Jennie Reed had already secured spots for August's Olympic Games in China with earlier performances, Taylor at the third UCI Track World Cup event and Reed with a bronze at the World Championships, the rest of the spots were to be chosen with a series of timed events.

    The Madison and points race used two 3000 metre mass starts over two days, with a minimum time standard to earn an automatic spot. After three met the standard, the fastest would be an automatic selection while the other spot would be chosen from the remainder. Bobby Lea set the fastest time with a flying first 500 metre time of 29.525 seconds and finishing with a 3000-meter time of 3:17.648, earning the spot.

    Of the other three – Michael Friedman, Brad Huff and Colby Pearce – both Friedman and Huff met the standard. Friedman rode a 30.359/3:24.229, while Huff rode a 30.466/3:21.740 to eclipse the time standards and remain in contention for the final spot.

    In the sprint events, the men rode both a 250 metre standing time trial and a 200 metre flying sprint. Michael Blatchford recorded the fastest 250 metres at 17.973 seconds, beating the 18.01 standard. Giddeon Massie and Adam Duvendeck missed the minimum. Blatchford, Massie, Duvendeck as well as Lea contested the flying 200 metre sprint for an automatic nomination to contest the match sprint and keirin, however none met the 10.38 mark.

    While already on the team, both Phinney and Reed attempted world record marks at the selection camp. Phinney set a new junior world record in the 3000 metre individual pursuit with a time of 3:16.589. The record attempt was part of Phinney's...

  • Ireland names Olympic roadies

    AG2R La Mondiale's Philip Deignan in Team Ireland colours
    Article published:
    June 20, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Gerard Cromwell

    By Gerard Cromwell Cycling Ireland has announced Ireland's two-man team for the Olympic Games road...

    By Gerard Cromwell

    Cycling Ireland has announced Ireland's two-man team for the Olympic Games road race in Beijing, China on August 9. The only two Irish professionals to ply their trade at cycling's highest level, the ProTour, Crédit Agricole's Nicolas Roche and AG2R La Mondiale's Philip Deignan, will line up for the 245-kilometre Olympic event.

    Roche will follow in the footsteps of his father Stephen, who represented Ireland at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 before going on to become a legend in the professional ranks. Both 24 year-olds have plenty of experience and have ridden together on numerous Irish teams at World Championship level.

    Now in his fourth year as a professional, Roche has progressed steadily each year and looked likely to make his Tour de France debut in July. Illness three days before this week's Tour de Suisse has forced Roche to skip what should have been his final Olympic preparation race. Olympic selection though, has made that blow a little easier for the Dubliner.

    "I was disappointed to miss the chance of riding the Tour," said Roche. "But I'm absolutely delighted to be going to the Olympics. I was hoping to get the call today and I'm really, really delighted to be picked."

    Roche has been in consistently good form this season taking numerous top 10 placings, culminating with a stage win and two days in yellow at the GP Internacional Paredes Rota dos Móveis in Portugal last month. His record in big races over the years, including good performances for Ireland at previous Junior (U-18) and U-23 world road race championships, make him an automatic choice for selection.

    The course around Beijing is a gruelling 24-kilometre loop, with 10 kilometres of climbing on each of the seven laps, making it comparable to a Tour de France mountain...

  • Canadian Olympic road team decided

    Article published:
    June 20, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor The Canadian Cycling Association announced its selections...

    By Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

    The Canadian Cycling Association announced its selections for their road cycling squad at the Beijing Olympics. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Chipotle,) Michael Barry (High Road) and Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) are the men's team, while Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine) and Alex Wrubleski (Webcor) represent the women's team.

    Both Barry and Hesjedal are European-based riders racing in many ProTour events, while Tuft recently won Canada's Tour de Beauce overall and time trial, which likely sealed his spot on the team. His time trial performance there likely also earned him the TT spot along with Hesjedal.

    The latter is slated to race the Tour de France with his team, which should be ideal training for the Games. "Going to the Olympic Games is something I've been thinking about doing since Athens," said Hesjedal in a statement. "I'm in the best position I've ever been and I've showed that with my racing this season. I plan on building on my successes."

    Both Wrubleski and Hobson have had consistent placings on the North American circuit, as well as some significant international results. Hobson finished third in the Montreal world cup.

    A third female rider is yet to be named, and the time trial contenders will be decided after the national championship in July.

  • Dessel puts his hand up for the Olympics

    Cyril Dessel aims for the Olympics
    Article published:
    June 20, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Jean-François Quénet in Grenoble France doesn't have a top cyclist for the Olympic road race on...

    By Jean-François Quénet in Grenoble

    France doesn't have a top cyclist for the Olympic road race on August 9 in Beijing but at least a serious candidate with Cyril Dessel, who came in sixth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. He was the only Frenchman to win a stage and it seems that his health problems of 2007 are past him. The AG2R rider has now totally fully recovered from toxoplasmose.

    "I think I'm back at the level I had in 2006," he explained at the end of the Dauphiné. After the French Championship, he'll go back with high ambitions to the Tour de France where he also finished sixth – and best Frenchman – two years ago.

    "After the Tour, I'd like to ride the Olympics and get a good result in Beijing. For me, it's this year or never and I think the course suits me. I really want to experience the Olympics." National coach Frédéric Moncassin confessed the difficulty for him to select the riders since he'll have to give his list of five men – including one who will double up with the time trial, which will possibly be Sylvain Chavanel – on July 21, one week before the end of the Tour de France. He has kept in his mind the memories of Athens, where the riders on form at the beginning of the Tour were no longer able to compete for the victory at the Games.

    Moncassin will form a totally different French team for the Olympics in August and the World Championships in Varese in September.

  • Vos to Olympic time trial

    Article published:
    June 20, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Marianne Vos will be riding the Olympic Time Trial after all. The national coach Johan Lammerts has...

    Marianne Vos will be riding the Olympic Time Trial after all. The national coach Johan Lammerts has changed his mind after consulting with the Dutch cycling federation and the Dutch Olympic committee. Last week, Vos had said she was considering legal action to force the coach to name her to the time trial.

    Vos is now scheduled to ride the road race on August 10, the time trial on August 13 and the track points race on August 18. According to sportwereld.nl, Lammerts had worried that the three races within eight day would be too much for the 21 year-old.

    The decision to include her in all three races was based on sporting grounds. She recently won four of five stages and the overall of the Emakumeen Bira race in Spain, which included a time trial win over World Champion Hanke Kupfernagel. (SW)

  • Thürig eyeing the time trial of her life

    Karin Thürig wouldn't have minded a team time trial
    Article published:
    June 20, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Karin Thürig of Switzerland is tuning up her form at the Grande Boucle Féminine International, where...

    Karin Thürig of Switzerland is tuning up her form at the Grande Boucle Féminine International, where she is eyeing Friday's time trial. But the race is just the first step toward the much bigger goal of the Olympics in Beijing, where she will aim for gold in her specialty discipline. Cyclingnews' Bjorn Haake spoke with the Cervélo Lifeforce rider at the start of the race in Gent.

    Karin Thürig knows the feeling of winning a major medal well. She has won the time trial World Championship title two times in her career, in 2004 and 2005. Additionally, she has been Swiss time trial champion in 2002 and from 2004 to 2007. But even this impressive list of achievements doesn't make her the favourite for Friday's race against the clock in stage five; her main competition could come from within her own team.

    Fellow Swiss rider Priska Doppmann secured her 2005 Grande Boucle win in the final time trial that year, while Austrian Christiane Soeder won the bronze medal at the time trial Worlds in Stuttgart last year. Carla Ryan, a new addition to the team, is the 2007 Australian time trial Champion.

    With such a powerful team, Thürig joked, the Cervélo Lifeforce team's best event would be a team time trial, "over 100 kilometres." With 40.1 kilometres against the clock looming on stage five, Thürig wasn't sure if the time trial would be the decisive part of the race given the stages to follow. "It is difficult to say. The stages on Saturday and Sunday have many vertical metres." But she admitted, "The time trial is important for me personally and I think also for Christiane and Priska. Otherwise, we try to do something as a team. We will look day by day."

    The team aspect is indeed very important and Doppmann is not necessarily the protected rider. Thürig explained, "We want to win as a team. Christiane is also very strong; Carla too. It is also difficult to say as we didn't have a race in a while,...

  • Contador confirms Olympic time trial and road race

    Spain's Alberto Contador, 25, eyes Olympic events
    Article published:
    June 20, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Jean-François Quénet in Grenoble

    Alberto Contador, winner of the 2007 Tour de France and 2008 Giro d'Italia , confirmed that he will...

    Alberto Contador, winner of the 2007 Tour de France and 2008 Giro d'Italia, confirmed that he will race both road events in the 2008 Olympics: The time trial (August 13) and road race (August 9).

    "I will do the road race and the time trial. Certainly, the time trial is more to my liking, but the road race has a very difficult route and everyone will have a chance," said the 25 year-old Spaniard in an interview on Spanish public television.

    Astana, the team of Contador, has not been invited to race the Tour de France in July and his last race leading to the Olympics in Beijing will be the Clásica San Sebastián, August 2.