Newly crowned French time trial champion Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) has decided not to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing, citing his desire to focus on the Tour de France as the main reason for his decision. Pollution, heat and a difficult parcours have also inspired the 29-year-old to skip the Games.
"Frankly, I prefer the World Championships," he told AFP. "I was the Olympic Games in Athens, and I had a great adventure. But in cycling, the Olympics is a bit less important, in the eyes of the public it is better to be world champion."
Chavanel's team manager Eric Boyer disagreed, and said he hoped Chavanel would not regret his decision later.
The national technical director Patrick Cluzaud, interviewed Thursday at Semur-en-Auxois, has seemed to take note of the Chavanel choosing.
"I'm not going to push to make sure he goes to Beijing," Cluzaud told AFP. "If Sylvain wants to come, it is his decision to make, but if he wants to back out... There are so many riders who dream ... "
The French team can name five riders for the road race and one of the five to contest the time trial in Beijing.