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S. Korean cycling recruits help of retired French racer

March 3, 2011 - 10:42 By 김주연

Chasing their first Olympic medal on tracks, South Korean cyclists have recruited help of a former world champion French cyclist.

   The Korea Cycling Federation announced Thursday that Frederic Magne will visit South Korea next Wednesday to discuss training regimens with local officials. Magne will also give a lecture in Seoul on the state of today's world cycling.

  "Magne will provide strong support to our efforts to win our first Olympic medal," an official at the federation said. "We will also strengthen our ties with the International Cycling Union (UCI) to elevate Korean cycling to the global standard."

   Magne, 42, won seven world titles between 1987 and 2000, and competed in four Summer Olympics, including the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

   After his racing career, Magne turned to coaching, serving as the director of development at the UCI from 2001 to 2005. He was also the head of the World Cycling Center, a training site recognized both by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the UCI.

   Magne has had successful stints with Asian cyclists. He coached Guo Shuang of China to the women's sprint bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Japan's Kiyofumi Nagai won the bronze at the men's keirin event in Beijing under Magne's tutelage.

   Magne previously traveled to South Korea in December 2009 for a technical seminar on local coaches.

   South Korea has excelled in cycling at the Asian Games, but has not won an Olympic medal. Cho Ho-sung has come the closest, finishing fourth in the men's points race at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

   The South Korean team has increased its budget since last year to send cyclists overseas for training. 

Efforts have borne fruit so far, with Cho's second-straight Asian championship plus a silver at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup last month. 

Lee Hye-jin, who has trained at the UCI, became the first South Korean to win two titles at the UCI World Junior Track Cycling Championships last summer.

(Yonhap News)