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Olympic briefs: Arndt irked, Aussies elated; Wood gets her chance in ITT; bruised Zijlaard-van Moorsel to start ITT

Arndt irked at German federation, not CarriganJudith Arndt says her hand gesture as she crossed the finish line in Sunday's women's road race in Athens was not directed at Australian winner Sara Carrigan, but rather at the German cycling federation for excluding her partner, Petra Rossner, from the German Olympic cycling team. Asked by reporters if her finger gesture was aimed at Carrigan, the 28-year-old said: "It wasn't anything to do with Sara. We gave the gold away. Petra is the best sprinter in the world. I'm sad that she did not ride with me. I dedicate my medal to her." The

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By Agence France Presse

Arndt irked at German federation, not Carrigan
Judith Arndt says her hand gesture as she crossed the finish line in Sunday’s women’s road race in Athens was not directed at Australian winner Sara Carrigan, but rather at the German cycling federation for excluding her partner, Petra Rossner, from the German Olympic cycling team.

Asked by reporters if her finger gesture was aimed at Carrigan, the 28-year-old said: “It wasn’t anything to do with Sara. We gave the gold away. Petra is the best sprinter in the world. I’m sad that she did not ride with me. I dedicate my medal to her.”

The 37-year-old Rossner, from Leipzig, won the 3000-meter individual pursuit on the track at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She finished a disappointing 30th in the Olympic road race at Sydney in 2000, but bounced back to win the German national title in June.

But if Arndt was unhappy at her absence, the Australians didn’t feel the same way.

“I’m glad she (Rossner) didn’t get a ride,” Australian women’s road coach James Victor said. “They would have been a bigger threat if she did. “It [Rossner’s omission] destabilized the Germans with a bit of friction there.”

b>Wood tapped for time trial
Oenone Wood, who sacrificed her hopes of medaling in the women’s road race for the greater good of the team, on Monday was confirmed as Australia’s starter in Wednesday’s time trial at the Athens Olympics.

The World Cup leader was expected to be Australia’s major medal hope in Sunday’s 118.8km race around Athens’ city streets. But in an act of selflessness, the 23-year-old Wood instead told teammate Sara Carrigan to attack while she stayed in the pack, waiting for a move that didn’t eventuate.

The tactic paid off in gold, as Carrigan edged German Judith Arndt in a tremendous surge to the finish line.

“That’s what you have to do,” Wood said. “The reason we won is because we’re one of the few teams who came totally committed to working as a team. To come to the Olympics and win a gold medal and know that you’ve contributed to that, that’s fantastic.”

Wood’s decision left her racing for the bronze in the bunch sprint – that final medal went to Russia’s Olga Slyusareva – and women’s coach James Victor praised his rider for her sacrifice.

“Oenone’s teamwork, making that call for Sara to go and sitting back and letting all the other teams use their energy to chase, that’s the most unselfish act you could ever ask of a teammate,” Victor said.

Bruised Zijlaard-van Moorsel slated for ITT
Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel is expected to start in the Olympic women’s individual time trial after her bruising fall during the road race here on Sunday.

The 34-year-old Dutch world and Olympic champion badly bruised her shoulder, elbow and hip when she crashed two laps from the finish in the road race, won by Australian Sara Carrigan.

“This morning she still had a headache and her hamstring was painful,” Dutch NOC official Nathaly Smeeman said Monday.

Smeeman said Zijlaard-van Moorsel will decide after the time trial whether to compete in Saturday’s 3km individual pursuit on the track, an event she won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Zijlaard-van Moorsel was too sore to train on Monday and intends taking part in open training for the road time trial on Tuesday, Smeeman said.