By Jean-François Quénet
The 2006 U23 world champion for time trial Dominique Cornu is a big traveler this year. After failing to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in the individual pursuit, the 2008 road season will start for the Belgian at the Presidential Tour of Turkey (April 13 to 20).
"So far I've done a lot of track," the Belgian explained. "I did the World Cup in Los Angeles in January and in Copenhagen in February. With the Belgian national team, I went for a training camp in South Africa for three weeks prior to the track world championship in Manchester.
Despite not getting an Olympic berth, Cornu was pleased with his performance on the boards. "In the individual pursuit I rode my new best time with 4.22.36 [it was the 12th best time, ed.]. It was four seconds faster than my previous best time, I tried my best to qualify for the Olympics but it just didn't work."
There is still one possibility for Cornu to qualify for Beijing with the individual time trial for which Belgium will have two representatives. "I'm not there yet," he said. "I have to produce good results first. There are a lot of nice races and who knows? Maybe I can go to Beijing. My goal is to do well at the Giro d'Italia.
"I'll go to the Tour of Turkey for gearing up for that. I know this country, I've been there already. It'll be a good race, I think. I'll see day by day what I can do. I hope to improve my condition as the race goes.
"I was happy with my condition at the Giro del Capo that I rode in March [he won a stage and came 3rd in another one, he also ran 2nd in the uphill time trial, ed.] and I was going well in Manchester as well," Cornu added. The Presidential Tour of Turkey doesn't include any time trial this year but there will be more opportunities for the 22-year-old Belgian to shine this season. "If I cannot qualify for Beijing, I also want to do well at the world championship for time trial at the end of the year."