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SuperBike And Track Both Fast

July 24, 1996

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (AP) _ SuperBike II made its Olympic debut Wednesday and, while the reverence was universal, the results were anything but.

``The thing is a rocket ship,″ marveled Erin Hartwell of Colorado Springs, Colo., who won America’s first silver medal in cycling since the 1984 Games, finishing second in the 1-kilometer time trial.

Hartwell figures the ultra-slim, carbon-fiber SuperBike, which he first rode last month, shaved a half-second off his time _ the difference between medaling and going home empty-handed.

And it briefly helped him hold an Olympic record _ until the next rider, Florian Rousseau of France, broke it again. It was a very fast day at what was supposed to be a very slow track, with 13 times below the world or Olympic records that existed at the start of the day.

Earlier in the day, the SuperBike was a super bust.

Individual pursuit rider Kent Bostick of Corrales, N.M., unveiled the sleek new endurance cycling weapon in the individual pursuit qualification round and finished ninth. Only the top eight riders advanced.

Bostick blamed technique, not technology.

Italy’s Andreas Collinelli, who set a world record, and France’s Philippe Ermenault both used the ``Superman″ style introduced by Britain’s Graeme Obree, where cyclists extend their arms straight ahead from their crouch.

Bostick, who said he pressed too hard too early, used the conventional tuck, with his elbows pulled in front of his chest.

He said Americans will have to rethink that style in the event.

``There’s a reason Superman flies like he does,″ he said.

Hartwell was super, but he was looking at another bronze like the one he won in Barcelona until world-record holder Shane Kelly of Australia, the last of 20 riders, shocked the crowd by pulling his foot out of the left pedal strap at the start.

``By the time I got my foot back in one or two seconds had passed, too much time was gone,″ said Kelly, the pre-race favorite, who received a standing ovation as he coasted along the track, stunned.

``It’s an Olympic dream shattered. Four years are gone,″ he said.

``I would love to have seen the guy race,″ Hartwell said. ``But the coaches teach you, pull the straps as tight as you can. Use a vise grip if you have to, but do not let your foot pull off.″

Kelly’s misfortune left Rousseau with the gold, Hartwell with the silver and Japan’s Takanobu Jumonji with the bronze. Rousseau won in an Olympic-record 1 minute, 2.712 seconds. Hartwell was timed in 1:02.940, and Jumonji in 1:03.261.

The old Olympic mark was 1:02.955 set by East Germany’s Lothar Thoms at Moscow in 1980.

Collinelli finished his heat in 4:19.699, besting Obree’s 1993 world mark of 4:20.894, then broke the mark again in the quarterfinals with a time of 4:19.153. Ermenault’s time of 4:21.295 topped Chris Boardman’s Olympic record of 4:24.496 set in Barcelona.

Olympic records also were broken in the 200-meter sprint flying time trials. Australia’s Michelle Ferris set the women’s mark at 11.212 seconds, and five men, including Marty Nothstein, of Trexlertown, Pa., and Germany’s Jens Fielder bested the mark of 10.252 that Fielder set four years ago.

Nothstein, riding a modified SuperBike, briefly held the record with a time of 10.176, only to be surpassed by Canada’s Curtis Harnett (10.175) and Australia’s Gary Neiwand (10.129).

``To hold the record for a while was a great feeling,″ Nothstein said.

Before the five-day track competition began, cyclists said they didn’t expect to see many records broken on the temporary wooden track, which they figured was too sticky and too small. But Hartwell said the SuperBike made up for that.

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