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Last Updated: Monday, 13 June, 2005, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
Hoy denied Olympic title defence
Chris Hoy wins Olympic gold in Athens
British cycling hero Chris Hoy has been denied the right to defend his Olympic title because his event - the 1km time trial - has been scrapped.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) removed the men's and women's time trials to make way for BMX racing - a decision Hoy called "devastating".

The Scot said: "To have the Olympics without the kilo is like track and field athletics without the 100m.

"I never thought it would be at risk - it's been in the Games since day one."

Hoy became the second Briton, after Jason Queally in 2000, to claim kilo gold in Athens - and he did it in a new Olympic record of one minute 0.711 seconds.

But he fears the move to axe what is widely considered to be the blue riband event of international cycling has drastically reduced his chances of winning another Games gold in Beijing in 2008 - and is a sad blow for the sport.

"There will still be the team sprint to ride with which should be a realistic medal chance for the Great Britain team, plus either the sprint and keirin," Hoy said.

"But these are highly technical events which require years of experience to excel in - not something I could spend a couple of years practicing at then expect to win an Olympic gold medal.

"I am already well into the four-year training and competition cycle leading up to Beijing and to have the goal posts not only moved but essentially pulled out of the ground feels like a body-blow.

"But I don't just feel aggrieved from a personal angle, but also what about the future generation of riders who had long-term ambitions to one day become Olympic kilo or 500m time trial champion?

"All the history and heritage of this event will be lost forever.

"I certainly don't want to be remembered as the last ever Olympic kilo champion."

It feels like they've cut my career in half
Anna Meares

Olympic cyclists in Australia echoed Hoy's sentiments with Cycling Australia saying it was "surprised and disappointed" by the decision.

Anna Meares, who won the women's 500m time trial in Athens, admitted the IOC's action is certain to have knock-on effects on her career.

"I am very disappointed to put it politely and really mad to be honest," Meares said.

"I don't understand their logic. It feels like all of a sudden instead of training and working hard to achieve two goals at Olympics they've just cut my career in half.

"It will also now make it harder to get sponsorship and support because I will have just one race and one chance for exposure."

The men's 1km and women's 500m will remain part of the Commonwealth and World Championship programmes.

And Hoy said he still intends to contest the event at next year's Commonwealths in Australia.

"Regardless of whether or not the kilo remains an Olympic event, I will be participating in it until at least Melbourne."


SEE ALSO
Ace Hoy takes Manchester victory
07 Jan 05 |  Cycling
Hoy stands tall under pressure
20 Aug 04 |  Cycling


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