The German cycling team has won a medal at every Olympics since 1896, except for the Los Angeles games in 1932, and it is beginning to look as if 2008 will be the second time. The team went into the road races with high hopes, especially in the time trials, but its hopes were dashed when the top finisher of the four races was Judith Arndt, who came sixth in the women's time trial.
Now the team is looking to the track riders to save its honour. "We absolutely want a medal," said Stefan Nimke, who already has a gold medal in the team sprint in Athens, 2004. "Why shouldn't it work out? After all, we are defending champions," he told the dpa press agency. In Athens he rode with Rene Wolff and Jens Feidler, both of whom have since stopped riding.
In Beijing, Nimke will ride with Maximilian Levy and Rene Enders, but the squad sees its best bet for a medal in the Madison, with Olaf Pollack and Roger Kluge. The duo is a combination of youth and experience: Kluge is 22, while Pollack is 34. Kluge is also a strong contender in the points race.
After the Olympics, Kluge hopes to concentrate on road racing. And if the German trackies don't bring in the hoped-for medal, the German federation can still look to the mountain bikers, who come in later in the games. (SW)