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Home > India > Sports > Olympics 2008 > Report

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49-year-old cyclist misses podium by two seconds

August 13, 2008 14:21 IST

Jeannie Longo

French cycling veteran Jeannie Longo [Images] missed the women's time trial podium by just 2 seconds in what could be her final Olympic race.

- Images from Day 5

"Everybody keeps telling me how great it is to finish 4th in an Olympic race at nearly 50. It's probably true but bronze was so close," she said after the 23.8-km race, won by American Kristin Armstrong.

"When I race I don't feel like I'm 50, I don't race with a calendar. I had never felt as much power in me," she said after leaving third place to Swiss Karin Thurig. American Kristin Armstrong won gold.

- Phelps, the Phenom

"I don't like the word work but I really worked hard for that and I was probably in my best shape before any Olympics [Images]," added Longo, who has taken part in seven Games since 1984.

Road Olympic champion in 1996 in Atlanta, said she had been hampered by sciatic nerve pain since Sunday's road race, which she finished 24th.

The road event took place in dreadful weather, rain pouring from start to finish and the Frenchwoman, who also collected two silvers and a bronze in her six previous Olympic campaigns, said it had affected her performance.

"With better race conditions on Sunday and a little bit of luck, I'm sure I could have been on a podium," she said.

"Without the rain on Sunday, I would not have had this pain and without this pain, who knows?

"To top it all, I missed a gear in the last turn before the finish, which might have cost me the two seconds I needed."

Asked if the result gave her any thoughts of trying her luck once more in London [Images] in 2012, she said: "It above all gives me regrets."

The placing is all the more disappointing for the Frenchwoman as she was beginning to enjoy the Olympic atmosphere after years of complaining about the food, the accommodation and logistics at previous Games.

"I moved back to the village this year because it was perfect. I just had to walk down the stairs to get massaged and I had a little oven to cook my meals," she said.

Despite being the longest serving Olympian in Beijing [Images], Longo said she was not blase and had felt thrilled at meeting athletes such as Rafael Nadal [Images] in the village.

"We're all little kids, are we not?" she said.

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