Everything wrong for Sydor
By RYAN PYETTE -- Team Sun
SYDNEY -- If it's not one thing, it's another.
Medal hopeful Alison Sydor had a bushel of available excuses after finishing fifth in last night's five-lap, 37.5-km Olympic women's cross-country race at the Fairfield City Farm mountain bike course.
But she chose to lump them all under one heading.
"I had some bad luck," said Sydor, who finished two minutes, 54 seconds back of gold medallist Paola Pezzo of Italy.
Sydor -- a 34-year-old Victoria resident -- arrived Down Under last week battling a nasty cold. She then was attacked by magpies during training.
In the race, Sydor broke a chain on the first lap, crashed in the third and had to fend off the birds again.
Under the circumstances, fifth wasn't so bad.
Pezzo, the gold medallist in Atlanta, repeated in 1:49.24, despite telling reporters before the race she would be happy with a bronze. Switzerland's Barbara Blatter claimed silver, and Spain's Margarita Fullana took bronze.
Cambellville's Chrissy Redden finished eighth after having to repair a flat tire. Victoria's Lesley Tomlinson ended up 19th.
For Sydor, the silver medallist in Atlanta, fifth stung.
HOPE NOT LOST
"I gave everything I could." she said. "After that, what can you do. I didn't lose my discipline or my hope. The course was perfect. I wasn't far out of it. I just couldn't catch them today.
"I couldn't come all the way back."
Every time Sydor got close to contending, something went wrong. She started second, got caught in uphill traffic on the first lap, broke her chain and lost about 30 seconds.
She battled back to sixth place, but crashed.
"I could see the leaders, I was making ground, and all of a sudden, they were gone," she said.