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March 19/06 11:17 am - Commonwealth Games: ITT Preview

Posted by Editoress on 03/19/06

Commonwealth Games Melbourne, Australia
Reports made possible by the support of MAXXIS tires

Time Trial Preview

Tomorrow the time trials events take place along the coast next to Port Phillip Bay. The riders head out from St Kilda Beach in a southeasterly directions - 14.5 kilometres for the women and 20 kilometres for the men - before retracing their path back to the finish. There are no major climbs, but the wind will be a major factor. The riders have just finished a training session, and we had a brief chat with Canadian time trial champion Svein Tuft.

"I like this course a lot. I like that it's windy; right now it is kind of a cross-head wind on the way out and cross-tail on the way back. The pavement is super smooth, so it is going to be fast.

The hardest sections will likely be some of the false flats which are fairly exposed to the wind. You'll have to ride smart, and make sure that you have power left for the return in the tail wind, so that you can really crank it up. I'm feeling really good; ready to rip it."

Tuft's greatest competition is expected to be Australia's Nathan O'Neill - the pair finished 1-2 (with O'Neill winning) at the time trial for Beauce last year. Other top contenders will be Hayden Roulston (New Zealand), David George (South Africa) and David McCann (Ireland). Canada's second entry is Zach Bell, who will still be recovering from the Scratch, Points and Pursuit from the track. 69 men are on the preliminary start list, with the first rider off at 1:00 pm local (9:00 pm March 20th EST).

On the women's side, Lyne Bessette has been scratched from the time trial, and her road race status is undecided. Erinne Willock will take her place for Canada, joining national TT champion Sue Palmer-Komar. Only 16 women will start (first rider off at 10:30 am local / 6:30 pm March 20th EST). The women's field is very strong, with Sarah Ulmer the prohibitive favourite after her dominant performance at the New Zealand World Cup two weeks ago. Other contenders include Australians Oenone Wood and Sara Carrigan (the Athens road champion), with the third Australian rider - Kathy Watt also a possibility - Watt was the Commonwealth Games champion in Victoria in 1994, and the Olympic champion in 1992 (Barcelona).


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