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Olympic briefs: Och’ fined; men gripe over road-race scheduling; Aussie irked at substitute status

Och’ fined for water handup outside feed zoneU.S. Olympic road coach Jim Ochowicz was fined Sunday for giving a bottle of water to a rider outside the approved area during the men's road race on Saturday. Ochowicz was fined the equivalent of about $162 by the UCI. No rider was named or fined, officials said. Temperatures topped 100 degrees on parts of the course Saturday, so race officials allowed team cars to pass water and food to riders over an expanded stretch of the course. Temperatures were cooler for the women's road race Sunday along the same 8.2-mile course, but the more generous

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By VeloNews Interactive, and wire services

Och’ fined for water handup outside feed zone
U.S. Olympic road coach Jim Ochowicz was fined Sunday for giving a bottle of water to a rider outside the approved area during the men’s road race on Saturday.

Ochowicz was fined the equivalent of about $162 by the UCI. No rider was named or fined, officials said.

Temperatures topped 100 degrees on parts of the course Saturday, so race officials allowed team cars to pass water and food to riders over an expanded stretch of the course.

Temperatures were cooler for the women’s road race Sunday along the same 8.2-mile course, but the more generous rules for providing food and water remained in effect.

Riders rail against men’s-race scheduling
Riders have taken Olympic Games organizers to task for scheduling the 224km men’s road race in the middle of a searing Athens’ summer day.

More than 50 riders pulled out in the battle of attrition, and most described it as the hardest race of their lives.

Australia’s Stuart O’Grady rated it the most draining experience of his career. O’Grady finished 33rd, while teammates Matt White and Baden Cooke pulled out after 10 of17 laps, followed by domestique Michael Rogers in the next lap.

“It was definitely the hardest one-day race in my life,” O’Grady said. “The conditions, the heat, the technical course just made it a very, very hard race.”

White slammed the decision to ride the race in the city center in the hottest time of the day.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “To start at one o’clock in the middle of the day and go right through to six. We’re in the city circuit with the glare and lots and lots of heat coming off the road. It was a very hard race.”

Kersten no closer to riding at Games
Ben Kersten was no closer to getting a ride at the Athens Olympics after his late addition to the Australian track cycling team, head coach Martin Barras said Sunday.

Kersten joined the team two weeks ago after trying to oust Sean Eadie through an appeal and then being given Jobie Dajka’s place after Dajka was dumped for lying to drugs investigators.

The Australian track team arrives here on Monday, and Barras said at this stage 22-year-old Kersten was a reserve for the team-sprint event, behind Shane Kelly, Ryan Bayley and Eadie.

“At this point in time, our starting line-ups will not change,” Barras told Australian reporters on Sunday from the team’s base in Buettgen, Germany.

“Ben’s probably in the best form I’ve seen him in, so we’re comfortable that if anything arises, we could put him in there and he would go very well. But at this stage it’s unlikely that will happen.”

Kersten has reportedly been in a sullen mood in the team camp since his late arrival from Australia. He was quoted in the Australian media as saying: “At this stage I’m on the outer in the starting lineup. I’ve not been given any trials to change that.

“Their opinion is if something goes horribly wrong physically with one of the riders then I’ll fill in. But I’d much rather be given an opportunity to change that starting lineup because it’s not very flexible at the moment.

“The team’s been picked and through my training if I broke a world record they’d consider it, but even if I do faster times, they’re sticking with their original selection.” –Agence France Presse and The Associated Press contributed to this report