Posted by Editoress on 08/23/04
Martin Barras, from Ste Foy, Quebec, is the head coach of Australia's phenomenally successful track program. We spoke with him after the men's Team Pursuit squad had claimed the gold, and set a world record.
Canadian Cyclist - Are you (Australia) on track for the results you wanted to achieve in Athens?
Martin Barras - We have expectations, of course, but we will know in two days if we have met them. Our goal is to come out of the Olympics recognized as the best track team in the world. By giving the riders the services, training and support they need, then it will happen.
CC - How big is this Team Pursuit win?
MB - it means so much to the country, it is like Canada winning hockey two years ago (in Salt Lake). The Team Pursuit is what the track cycling program has been built on for the last 20 years. All the AOC (Australia Olympic Committee) was here tonight, despite fact they are fighting with us.
CC - Okay, so what about tomorrow's sprint finals? Where do you see Lori-Ann Muenzer?
MB - We have prepared for Lori-Ann, she is one of the ones we are most concerned about. Lori-Ann is a very crafty rider, she doesn't make mistakes. So, you don't try to set her up like you might with other riders. Her arsenal of weapons is not large, but what she has, she uses to 100%.
She is aggressive and forceful in races. You have to grab any opportunity, because you can't recover if you make a mistake against her.
CC - What about the rest of the sprints finals?
MB - I am very interested to see how the Russian final sets up (Grankovskaya versus Abassova). Grankovskaya is smart and subtle. But if she let's Abassova run her course, then (Abassova) is a very powerful rider, she has a big engine, and could win.
It is the same with the men. There were five clearly above the rest, but Bourgain lay down, let Gane through. The Wolff - Bayley race is between two drag racers, and Gane - Bos is between two jumpers! It should be very interesting to watch.
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