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Hunter: Olympic medal doesn't mean much

Robbie Hunter (Barloworld)

Robbie Hunter (Barloworld) (Image credit: Shane Goss)

South Africa's Robbie Hunter might ride for one of his national team-mates at August's Beijing Olympic Games in China. While the Barloworld rider didn't contest last year's Olympic test event, he believes the profile of the hilly course won't suit sprinters like himself. Hunter also believes the lack of financial reward for winning the Olympic Games makes it less appealing than Tour de France success.

"For me I want to try and get the best result possible," he told "The course might not be best suited to me it may be better suited to Jean Lee who is the younger rider. But obviously we also need to look at the next four weeks ahead of the Olympics and see what condition we are in when we arrive [in Beijing]."

Hunter, a Tour de France stage winner, admitted the Olympic Games don't have the same prestige as a Tour de France stage win. The rider said it was difficult to compare the two, given the Olympics only take place every four years.

"That's difficult to answer and you need to look at it from both aspects," admitted Hunter. "As far as cycling is concerned an Olympic medal does not mean much - a stage of the Tour de France means a lot more.

"Not that the Olympics means nothing it is just that it only comes around once every four years, there are other events in cycling such as the world champs that a mean a lot more," he added. "Cycling is sport that runs professionally from February to October every year, so obviously there are events than mean a lot more - for me at this stage of my cycling career a stage win in the Tour de France is a lot more sought after than the Olympics."

The South African added that the lack of financial return on winning the Olympic Games is one thing preventing it from equaling the Tour in his book. "The problem is that the financial reward between the two events is a big difference and being a professional athlete the Tour is what basically pays you bill... winning the Olympics the financial reward does not even factor into it," he said.

"As far as being a South African and the SA public obviously an Olympic medal means a hell of a lot," he added.

Hunter believes Beijing's course might be better suited to Team Barloworld and South African national team team-mate Jean Lee Augustyn.

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