Olympic TTs: What they said

Tyler Hamilton and Bobby Julich reflect on a great day for the USA, while Jan Ullrich and Nicole Coo

Tyler Hamilton and Bobby Julich reflect on a great day for the USA, while Jan Ullrich and Nicole Coo
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Tyler Hamilton (USA) - Gold: "It was very hard with the heat and the wind. But in those conditions it's important to stay calm and gauge your effort. I started a bit too fast and I backed off on the first lap, then came back stronger on the second lap, and tried to pedal with my legs, keeping my upper body still. I could have been last in every race this year, but this gold medal would have made me forget everything else. It was smart to stop at the Tour de France because it's paid off. I took one week off after the Tour and told myself that if I didn't feel any better after one week, then I wouldn't ride the Olympics. But I did feel better and maybe that was because I missed most of the mountain stages so I felt fresh. This is just fantastic - it's a great day for US cycling. Dee-Dee, Bobby and me have showed that the US has a great future. I've done a lot of big races before but I was so nervous before this, almost like it was my first race. But I wanted to leave all my energy on the course and I did - at the finish I was spent." Viatcheslav Ekimov (Russia) - Silver: "It was a nice course for me, exactly what I like. I was disappointed with my second lap, but I think to get silver after a pretty hard season and after the Tour de France, was a great result for me. The Sydney course was more technical - this was a course for speed and power - I'd like to see more time trial courses like this." Bobby Julich (USA) - Bronze: "I didn't think this was my kind of course, because I like something a bit more technical with a lower speed, and I knew this would be a 50kph average speed. I had no radio, I just wanted to ride on feel and sometimes that's the best way. But I am very happy. Ekimov is one of my inspirations, and maybe I have one more Olympics in me if I match his standards. I found out also that I have had a broken right scaphoid since the Tour and right after this they're going to put a cast on my wrist and maybe I will have to immobilise it a little. That might affect the rest of my season. Today just goes to show that morale is a big part of cycling. After my third place in the 1998 Tour, I was bombarded with negative thoughts all the time. I always said I would quit if I stopped enjoying the sport, and I came close last year, but riding for CSC has given me back my confidence. I owe a lot to Bjarne Riis, because he really changed me. Nobody had showed me confidence since 1998, and it amazed me that he did that for a man who had been floundering around the peloton." Hamilton on Riis: "Bjarne taught me how to be a leader. For Bobby, going to CSC was the best move he could make. But I have never stopped believing in him. In fact I couldn't have chosen two better people to be on the podium with. Bobby and I both know that there are plenty of low moments in cycling. July was a terrible month for me, but today has banished all that. This just goes to show that in life and in sport you should never give up." Jan Ullrich (Germany): "Yes I'm a bit disappointed, but seventh is not too bad. I have already been Olympic champion and I already have two medals. These will be my last Olympic Games and being seventh in the time trial won't kill me. The first three had a break and time to relax after the Tour, but I did the whole post-Tour programme and maybe that was wrong. But I don't think the season has been too bad and anyway, it isn't over yet. There's the GP Zurich and then I will have a break and maybe try to take a medal in the World Championships in Verona. But I am angry with the German tabloids because of these pictures they have printed of me drinking beer. All we did was celebrate Zabel's fourth place in the road race with one beer - and they have said I was drinking all the time. They print 40 per cent of the truth and 60 per cent fantasy." Nicole Cooke (GB) -19th in women's event: "I knew that the time trial would be painful. It's just a shame that all the hard work didn't get more reward. I'm disappointed not to pick up a medal, but considering that three months ago, I had knee surgery, I think it's a decent performance. It'd difficult to tell people how impossible the situation was in April. I'm not going to race in the points race on the track. Now I'm going to move into the Olympic village and enjoy the event for what it is. Then I will go home and repair my damaged pride and prepare for the World Championships." Jeannie Longo (France) -14th. "No I won't be retiring, because the World Championships are coming. It is the end of summer, the days are getting shorter, and you begin to crumble into autumn. But I will go home to Grenoble and look after my goats - because I don't hold the keys to the future."
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