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Tournant misses French Worlds team sprint spot

Paul Verkuylen in Geelong, Australia
February 26, 2008, 0:00 GMT,
April 20, 2009, 21:18 BST
First Edition Cycling News, February 26, 2008

Multiple world champion Arnaud Tournant is unhappy after not been selected to ride for France in the...

Multiple world champion Arnaud Tournant is unhappy after not been selected to ride for France in the team sprint in the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Manchester on March 26 - 30. Despite the disappointment, the Roubaix-born rider is happy that he's recovering from the shoulder injury sustained in a recent crash.

"My shoulder injury is almost better," said Tournant. "It has improved a lot since the last World Cup in Copenhagen and I am very pleased with the recovery.

"My federation has decided the team sprinters for the World Championships will be Bauge as first man, Kevin Sireau in second with Bourgain in third," he added. "I am only a substitute and I don't understand it."

Tournant won the gold medal last year riding with Mickael Bourgain and Gregory Bauge but the French selectors have decided he will not be defending his title in Manchester this year. He has won the event an amazing eight times in the World Championships and in the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

"I made the podium in four World Cups this season and I won in Los Angeles," said the 29 year-old sprinter. "For me the decision is very strange. It is my best event and I have won nine gold medals in it.

"I am very happy for my friends but it is very difficult for me," he added. "I have been selected for the Keirin, but it is the team sprint where I have a long history of success."

Tournant will have to work hard if he is to beat Britain's Chris Hoy in the Keirin. The flying Scotsman had put 24 consecutive wins together in world class events recently and is the reigning World champion in the specialist discipline.

"I won in Los Angeles and finished second in Beijing," continued Tournant. "I think I have a good chance. Chris has got a fabulous record…and I hope that it's me who breaks it."

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