Source: Xinhua

08-08-2008 07:20

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEIJING, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic Games is more important than races like Tour de France, said a New Zealand cyclist on Thursday.

"For me, I am given a chance to represent my country, and Beijing Olympics is the top course for countries of all over the world," said the New Zealander Julian Dean at a news conference held in the Main Press Center (MPC) of the Olympiad, who participated in the Tour de France last month.

The 33-year-old cyclist disclosed riders in European countries top Tour de France, world championships and world cups as their favorites.

He also said unlike world championships, Tour de France, which could be controlled by teams, the nature of Olympics was very different.

"Specially for cycling, we are used to race with teams at races such as world championships, Tour de France. The races are well under control, and the teams can master what can happen, but the Olympics is much more difficult to predict than a normal one," said Dean, who finished 15th at the Athens Olympics.

"It is a big game, and anything can happen at any time," he added.

As to the upcoming Olympics, the second-time comer said he was in good form and was nearly more ready. "My condition came quite well last week after Tour de France. The confidence is there, and I'm feeling happy with my health," he said.

Dean didn't discard the possibility of winning a medal at the Olympiad. "You know the capabilities. You know the course. You know the riders. There's nothing else to really think about. You are set to get there and do what you can," he said.

But he admitted the big challenge came from two Spanish riders - Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre and world champion Oscar Freire - and Italian Paolo Bettini, who was crowned at the Athens Olympics.

Joanne Kiesanowski, who was also at the conference, said she didn't have an aspiration to win an Olympic medal. "I have a picture on my mind and I will ride where I can," said the New Zealander, who was 17th at the Athens Olympics.

"It's hard to ride. Big groups have more chances. We are only two riders, but I can attack," she said.


Editor:Yang Lina