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Olympic briefs: Zijlaard-van Moorsel wants to end with win; Rogers hopes to prove he’s best; Reed skipping 500m

Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel hopes to defend her Olympic time trial crowd on Wednesday despite a hard fall that knocked her out of Sunday’s road race and left her with bruises on shoulder, elbow and hip. The 34-year-old Dutchwoman, who won the road race, the individual time trial and the individual pursuit on the track at the Sydney Games four years ago, fell when she clipped Canadian Lyne Bessette’s rear wheel and brought Swiss Nicole Brandli crashing down on top of her. "I feel good, I slept good. I just hope that my legs are good," Zijlaard-van Moorsel said Tuesday of her recovery. "I

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By VeloNews Interactive, and wire services

Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel hopes to defend her Olympic time trial crowd on Wednesday despite a hard fall that knocked her out of Sunday’s road race and left her with bruises on shoulder, elbow and hip.

The 34-year-old Dutchwoman, who won the road race, the individual time trial and the individual pursuit on the track at the Sydney Games four years ago, fell when she clipped Canadian Lyne Bessette’s rear wheel and brought Swiss Nicole Brandli crashing down on top of her.

“I feel good, I slept good. I just hope that my legs are good,” Zijlaard-van Moorsel said Tuesday of her recovery. “I am still in pain everywhere, but it is not as painful as when I fell. I rested all day yesterday and I will train for only 30 minutes today and do one lap for now.”

This will finally be it for Zijlaard-van Moorsel. After the time trial, a 48km, out-and-back along the coast, which starts and finishes in Vouliagmeni, she will retire from competitive riding. But she wants to go out in style.

“The time trial will be my biggest chance,” she said. “I love the course. One gold will make me happy. Then I’ll quit. I’ll train younger riders, just for fun, but no races. I want to have children. There is more to life than cycling.”

She expects her strongest competition to come from Spain’s Joane Sommariba Arrola and German Judith Arndt.

The 32-year-old Spanish cyclist has won the women’s Tour de France, the Grand Boucle Feminine, three times.

“I think that I have a great chance in the time trial and I want to be the top in this event,” she said.

As for Arndt, she will be looking to go one better after finishing a disgruntled second in the road race. She was fined 200 Swiss francs for a one-fingered gesture as she crossed the finish line, protesting the German federation’s exclusion of teammate and partner Petra Rossner from the road race.

Australian Oenone Wood, who sacrificed her chance of a medal to help teammate Carrigan win the road race, is her country’s only competitor in the time trial and is confident of her medal hopes.

“I’m tired from Sunday’s race but I’m ready to do a good race here,” said Wood. “On Sunday I lost a medal by a few seconds, but now I want to take it. I’m not afraid.”

Rogers wants to prove he’s No. 1
Australian cyclist Michael Rogers, who has more reason than most to be aggrieved by David Millar’s confession to doping charges, is out to prove he is the world’s best time trialist by winning Olympic gold Wednesday.

The 24-year-old was runner-up to the Briton in the time trial at last October’s world championships in Canada, before Millar admitted that he had taken the banned performance enhancer EPO. Millar since has been banned from cycling for two years.

Now, Rogers is the favorite to give Australia a second cycling gold in Athens.

He rode the Olympic course last year, taking a video of the trip to help in his preparations for Wednesday’s time trial.

“I’ve studied it and studied it, been through it about a thousand times in my head, ridden it 15-20 times,” he said. “It’d be pretty fair to say I know it back to front.”

The Australian Institute of Sport also has designed several pre-race cooling strategies for Rogers, who spent much of last December preparing in a heat tent.

His detailed preparations have Rogers in the right frame of mind to tackle the Olympic course.

“It is certainly quite a hard course,” Rogers said. “The wind will be a major factor, and there are enough rolling climbs to make it very difficult. For me, it couldn’t be better The climbs and the false flats will make it very, very difficult, and suited to my riding.”

Rogers’ main rivals for gold appear to be defending Olympic champion Viatcheslav Ekimov of Russia, Sydney Olympic runner-up Jan Ullrich of Germany, Spaniard Jose Ivan Gutierrez and American Tyler Hamilton.

“I’ve beaten them all,” Rogers said. “It’s whoever’s on their best day.”

Reed skipping 500-meter TT
American medal hopeful Jennie Reed said she doesn’t plan to race in the 500-meter time trial when cycling’s track competition opens Friday at the Olympic velodrome.

“I’m pretty sure I won’t be riding it,” Reed said Tuesday. “I might change my mind, but I doubt it.”

Reed said skipping the event is the best way to ensure nothing disrupts her training for the women’s sprint competition, which opens Sunday. She’ll be among the medal favorites in that event.

The time trial is only two laps around the velodrome, but Reed’s preference is to use Friday as a full rest day – which her normal training schedule calls for. She’d be a medal long shot, at best, in the time trial.

“It’s just not my forte,” Reed said. “I could go out there and do it to get the nerves out of the way, but it’s just not something I’m focusing on.”

USA Cycling won’t be able to replace Reed in the time trial. The only other American woman who qualified in track cycling for the Athens Games is returning Olympian and distance specialist Erin Mirabella, who’ll compete in both the individual pursuit and points race.

Reed, 26, earned the start positions for both the time trial and sprint by finishing fifth in the sprint competition at this year’s world championships. She’s the top-ranked American track sprinter, and is a former national time trial champion.

“We didn’t do any preparation for the 500 this year, and the way the competition is scheduled it really doesn’t fit our plan,” said U.S. sprint cycling coach Andrzej Bek. “It would distract our pattern. And sometimes, when you try to get two things, you can come away with nothing.”

Reed is the only American scheduled to compete in Friday’s races. Mirabella and the men’s sprint team will race during Saturday’s track session. Agence France Presse and The Associated Press contributed to this report