Turtur opposed to Olympic ride-off

Olympic Games gold medallist Mike Turtur disagrees with the move to put Australian Beijing Olympic...

Olympic Games gold medallist Mike Turtur disagrees with the move to put Australian Beijing Olympic hopefuls Ben Kersten and Shane Kelly head-to-head for the national team's final spot. The 1984 Los Angeles medalist says the high-pressure situation could be avoided.

"I understand that these are two athletes who are used to performing under extreme pressure. But by doing this, they are being placed under unnecessary pressure," Turtur told Sunherald.com.au. "We should be letting the selectors and the head coach do their jobs."

The ride-off between the duo - which would see them timed over 300 metres from a standing start - has been delayed until next month while the pair recover from injuries in separate incidents. Kelly dislocated his shoulder earlier this month while days later Kersten was one of 50 riders taken down in a training incident.

"As far back as I can remember, the coach makes the call and you live or die by that decision," he added. "I'm not backing one athlete over the other one and I'm not going to make a public statement on who deserves selection. The reality is that the selection process is being taken away from the people we appoint to be selectors and coaches."

Turtur is currently the race director of Australia's Tour Down Under, the first ProTour race outside of Europe. Kelly has contested every Olympic Games since Barcelona in 1992. He claimed silver at the '92 event and bronze medals at the last two Olympic Games in Sydney and Athens.

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