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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Monday, 7 December 2009

Baxter pleased with cycling debut

Baxter's off skis and on his bike

Former Olympic skier Alain Baxter was pleased with his cycling debut at Manchester's Revolution event but feels he needs to make improvements.

Baxter, 35, who was stripped of an Olympic skiing bronze in 2002, was more than a second behind Matt Crampton and Craig MacLean in the 200m sprint.

"I'm not over the moon about my time," Baxter told BBC Scotland.

"But it was the first experience for me and I think more time on the track and more competitions will help me."

Baxter was due to take on Sir Chris Hoy at the national track championships in Manchester in October but withdrew due to illness.

His time of 11.6 seconds was off the mark for the competition but good enough to suggest that he might have what it takes to make the transition into his new sporting role.

To put it in to context, it was the first time he had competed on race wheels and Baxter had only had 10 training runs at that distance.
He said he had not been put off by the experience but needed to find funding and be fully committed if he was to secure a successful switch from skiing to cycling.

"I was 1.3 seconds off the winner which wasn't that bad," Baxter said.

"If I had been three seconds off the pace I would have said there was no chance but I feel I can improve and there could be good times ahead.

It's a good starting point and he should take a lot of confidence from that

Craig MacLean

"It's been a great experience and it's something I've been looking forward to for a while," said Baxter.

"It's my first competition and the whole build up to it has been great - getting on to the track has been daunting.

"But you get into your warm-up and everything comes natural after that.

"I'm going to sleep on it and speak to some of the coaches and see what they think, but I need some more opinions."

In the qualifying round for the 200m sprint, Baxter set a time of 11.6, with Crampton quickest in 10.31 just ahead of MacLean on 10.4.

Fellow Scot MacLean said Baxter should be encouraged with his performance in Manchester and it should not deter him from working towards a place in the Scottish Commonwealth Games team at Delhi in 2010.

"I think it's a pretty respectable performance given that he's had very little track time," said MacLean.

"He did a bit on Meadowbank over the summer, but he's only had about two sessions in Manchester in the last few months.

"To come and do that with a bit of pressure in front of a big crowd, he did pretty well.

"I don't think he should be disappointed. It's a respectable performance to get up and do it with no track time.

"It's a good starting point and he should take a lot of confidence from that."

Edinburgh-born Baxter won Britain's first Olympic skiing medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics but was stripped of it after failing a doping test.

He put it down to using an American nasal inhaler, which contained a banned substance which was not present in the British version of the same product.

He was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but his medal was not returned.

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see also
Baxter forced to delay bike debut
20 Oct 09 |  Cycling
Baxter swaps skis for the saddle
11 Jun 09 |  Winter Sports
Retiring Baxter proud of record
02 Apr 09 |  Winter Sports
Injuries force Baxter retirement
02 Apr 09 |  Winter Sports
Baxter bares all for Olympic bid
06 Nov 08 |  Winter Sports
Baxter hails moral victory
18 Oct 02 |  Alpine Skiing
British skier stripped of bronze
21 Mar 02 |  Alpine Skiing
Baxter crowned Superstars king
24 Jan 05 |  Superstars

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