Australian team report

After Oenone Wood finished sixth in the women's road race, Australian women's cycling coach Warren...

After Oenone Wood finished sixth in the women's road race, Australian women's cycling coach Warren McDonald says he is excited about the team's prospects heading towards the Beijing Olympics.

"I think it was a very exciting race and I think for Oenone to be there in the last 12 that's exciting for us because we haven't had many riders who could get to the end of a very hard World Championships and be competitive," said McDonald.

"She had to pick the riders who were going to make the race and to her credit got to the line and maybe didn't have the legs at the finish," he said. "But I think it's a good sign coming off a very important Commonwealth Games year that at the end of the year [she was up there]."

"The girls looked after me in the first four laps of the race and made sure I was safe, in good position and had everything that I needed," said Wood. "They did a really fantastic job and then it was up to me.

"I gave them everything I could and I did my best but I just didn't have it at the finish," explained Wood, who chose her tactics well to stay with the leaders but began suffering cramps in the last few kilometres. "There were just too many attacks and I'd just had it by the time I got to the line.

"I'm still happy with the way we rode today," she said. "I think we did a really good job and I'd like to thank the girls for putting their faith in me."

Continued McDonald: "A number of [our women] riders are changing teams and that's exciting for Australian cycling that quite a few of riders will have a better situation with [professional] teams that will support them to race well at world championships and to try and qualify for Beijing. I'm excited for the future."

Earlier in the day, the men's U23 road race was won by Germany's Gerald Ciolek ahead of Frenchman Romain Feillu and Russian Alexander Khatuntsev. Tasmanian Matt Goss, who recently signed a three-year contract with CSC, had been Australia's hope for the podium but couldn't stay with the leaders up the last climb.

"I think we had the early stuff covered then we probably dropped our game a little mid-race," said Australian U23 coach Brian Stephens. "One lap to go we had still four riders right up there but Gossy felt the pressure over the last two climbs and lost contact on the last one.

"He was the nucleus of our strategy and without him we were stranded, so it then became a case of the riders knowing we needed to pursue the second most important thing and that was to qualify a full team for the 2007 world championships," explained Stephens. "James Meadley took care of that by sprinting hard to come home in the main bunch in 29th place."

Australia will field a full strength team of nine in the men's elite road race over 12 laps of the course for a total distance of 265.9 kilometres.

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