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By VeloNews interactive, copyright AFP2003
Australia’s head cycling coach has demanded an apolgy from the head of the Italian cycling federation after casting doubts over his team’s record breaking performances at the world track championships in Stuttgart. Giancarlo Ceruti, president of the Italian federation, told Gazzetta Dello Sport that he could not understand the results of the Australian and British pursuit teams at the event claiming that “on the road they are normal riders and on the track they become phenomenons.” The Australians took more than two full seconds off their own world record while the British claimed silver, riding at near world-record pace, even after shedding on of their four riders with nearly three kilometers remaining in the four-kilometer event. “Mr Ceruti has directly and through cowardly innuendo questioned the integrity and sportsmanship of the entire Australian cycling program,” said Shayne Bannan, the Australian head coach. “His comments are offensive and invalid and have been made by a man with no knowledge of the way in which we conduct ourselves. I am insulted and disappointed that a person in such a position as his would make such unwarranted and unsubstantiated comments and, on behalf of my staff and riders, I demand an apology. “He obviously has no idea how a successful track program is run and should confine his comments to things he knows something about,” Bannan continued. “The success of our cycling programme didn’t happen overnight and is in fact the result of many years of hard work.”