Reed falls short of medal

Updated: August 22, 2004, 12:48 PM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- Jennie Reed's quest for an Olympic cycling medal ended quickly.

Reed lost her first head-to-head race in the sprint competition Sunday to Canada's Lori-Ann Muenzer, then was beaten in the repechage -- a "second-chance'' race -- later in the session, ending her hopes of becoming only the second American woman to medal in the Olympic sprint.

Reed was the No. 9 seed in the 12-woman field, based on her qualifying time of 11.622 seconds in Sunday morning's 200-meter seeding race. And that'll be the best spot she can possibly finish with -- she'll ride Monday against three other women in the ninth-place race.

"I'm a little disappointed with my time," Reed said after the seeding race. "It wasn't what I expected. I'm not sure what happened."

Her day kept getting worse.

Reed took the higher line along the banked track in the second prequel lap against Muenzer, leading up to the one-lap dash to the finish. She darted beneath Muenzer and took the lead entering the final lap, but the Canadian -- who was third in this year's world championships -- took it back for good with a half-lap remaining.

Then in the three-rider repechage, Reed was paired with Bulgaria's Evgenia Radanova and Russia's two-time defending world champion Svetlana Granovskaya, with only the winner getting a spot in Monday's quarterfinals. Granovskaya prevailed, holding off a hard attack from Reed over the final 125 meters.

Australia's Anna Meares, who won the time trial in world-record time here Friday, earned the No. 1 seed with a time of 11.291 seconds.

Meares -- the fastest woman on wood -- beat the fastest woman on ice to advance.

Radanova had the slowest qualifying time, 12.457 seconds, earning her an opening-round matchup with Meares, who has been riding the fastest laps of her life on the Athens velodrome's 250-meter banked wooden oval. Meares won easily in their head-to-head race Sunday.

Then again, cycling isn't Radanova's best sport. She's a three-time Winter Olympian in short track speedskating who won two medals in Salt Lake City two years ago. Radanova, who holds the world 500-meter short track record and is a two-time world champion, is making her debut in the summer games.

In the pursuit final, New Zealand's Sarah Ulmer bettered her own world record to win the gold medal. Ulmer's winning time was 3:24.537, nearly two full seconds faster than the mark she set in Saturday's qualifying rounds. Australia's Katie Mactier won the silver.

Retiring Dutch cycling star Leontien Zijlaard-van Moorsel won the bronze, her sixth career Olympic medal, by defeating Australia's Katherine Bates. Van Moorsel won three gold medals in Sydney and added a fourth in Athens, edging Dede Barry of the United States to win the road time trial. She also had a silver in 2000.

Also included in Sunday's afternoon track session were early rounds of the men's sprint and team pursuit events, where Australians emerged as favorites for gold. Ryan Bayley had the fastest time in the men's sprint seeding race, and his countrymen are the three-time defending world champions in team pursuit.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press