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Tough beginnings for women in Beijing

The Austrian women didn't even have time to unpack their suitcases before they had to undergo doping controls, with not so pleasant results for Christiane Soeder. The 33 year-old is suffering from intestinal problems and nausea.

Soeder and team-mate Monika Schachl were requested to come to the doping controls shortly after they arrived in the Olympic Village on Thursday. "It went so fast, that we didn't even have time to unpack," Schachl told the APA press agency. "We were so dehydrated from the flight that we had to drink liters of cold water first, because in the first tests the pH values were too low." She speculated that the large quantities of cold water caused Soeder's problems.

Soeder was unable to go out on Thursday's training ride, but was expected to be able to train on Friday. Both women are scheduled to ride in Sunday's road race, with Soeder also riding in the time trial on Wednesday.

Things were even worse for another of the women's bike racing contingent. Spanish cyclist Maribel Moreno, who was scheduled to compete in the women's road race on Saturday, has decided to return home after what has been described in the Spanish media as an anxiety attack. The technical director of the Spanish cycling federation, Mikel Zabala, confirmed that Moreno's decision was a "personal" one.

Moreno, who finished fifth in the last Grande Boucle Féminine, was one of Spain's greatest hopes on the difficult courses of the road race as well as the time trial in Beijing.