Aussie coach hopeful of TT medal chances
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Aussie coach hopeful of TT medal chances

by Agence France-Presse at 7:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Australian duo Michael Rogers and Cadel Evans can win medals in the men's time trial on Wednesday if they ride to their capabilities, their head coach said Tuesday.

"I can confidently say - and they'd have to be on their top form - if both of them are on top form they are potential medal winners," said Australia's head cycling coach Shayne Bannan.

Rogers, a former three-time world champion in the race against the clock, confirmed his return to form after a few months out with illness by placing an impressive sixth in the tough road race held on Saturday.

Evans, the Tour de France runner-up for the second straight year, ended 15th at the Great Wall finish line of the 245km epic which forced 53 of the 143 starters out of the race.

Despite some concern over his time trial participation because of a nagging knee injury picked up at a post-Tour party, Evans' Olympic campaign is not yet over.

Bannan said there were "no problems" with the 31-year-old Aussie star's knee, allowing Evans to honour the wildcard spot for the 47.6km race that was offered to Australia in the wake of his initial pull-out.

Since Saturday's road race, won by Spaniard Samuel Sanchez, Evans and Rogers have been enjoying a combination of rest, massage and "good food".

And after riding Monday's three laps of the hilly 23.8km circuit that will be raced twice on Wednesday, Bannan was impressed with what he saw.

"The two guys were out there for a few hours this morning, they did three laps on their time trial bikes," said Bannan. "Both of them were extremely good."

Among the favourites for time trial gold are Swiss Fabian Cancellara, a two-time world champion, Americans Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde and Spaniard Alberto Contador.

Germany's Stefan Schumacher, who won both time trials at the Tour de France - albeit over flatter courses - is also in the mix, alongside Russian Denis Menchov.

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