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September 23, 2000

Alison Sydor continues Canada's medal woes

CBC SPORTS ONLINE - Another Canadian medal hopeful, another disappointing result. Alison Sydor was coming into Sydney with realistic hopes of bringing home a medal, but ended fifth in the women's mountain biking event on Saturday.

Paola Pezzo of Italy repeated her golden performance from Atlanta. Silver went to Barbara Blatter of Switzerland and bronze was won by Spain's Margarita Fullana. The bronze medallist lost her lead when she crashed on the third lap.

Sydor won silver in Atlanta and at last year's world championships, but could not crack the podium in Sydney. She had a cold leading up to the Games, and that may have caused her performance to suffer.

"I got off the plane pretty sick," Sydor told the Canadian Press. "My first week here was a really tough week.

"There's only so much training you can do to make things up. It was a pretty difficult lead-up for me, the last three weeks, for sure. I had some back luck with my health. But I'm happy I never gave up trying. I did everything right that I could do. I gave everything I could. I never quit until I crossed the finish line."

And even though she didn't win a medal, Sydor's not about to give up now.

"I'll be back next year very motivated and ready to do some damage again," Sydor said.

The riders started the race according to their current world ranking. That put Blatter in the top spot, Sydor in second, while Pezzo was 21st. Blatter led after the first lap, followed closely by Fullana. Sydor was in sixth spot. Blatter led until the beginning of the third lap when Fullana pulled ahead and Sydor moved into fifth place. Pezzo caught up with Fullana at the end of the third lap, but Fullana went down after her bike got caught in a rut. She remounted, but her lead was gone. Pezzo was out front for the rest of the race.

Sydor ended the first lap 27 seconds behind the leader, but fell back and by the end was almost two minutes off the pace.

Chrissy Redden of Campbellville, Ont., finished eighth and Lesley Tomlinson of Victoria was 19th.



reprinted with permission

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