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Islanders at the olympics

Time is now for Hesjedal
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Victoria's Ryder Hesjedal will be in his element today in the time trial.

The cycling time trial - where it's just you, the road and the clock - is known as the Race of Truth.

That moment of truth arrives this morning at 6: 15 PDT for Victoria cyclist Ryder Hesjedal in the men's time trial at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

"I'm really excited to have one more chance to compete here at these Games," Hesjedal said from London, where he was 63rd in the road race Saturday.

Another chance arrived on the water Tuesday for the all-Victoria 2011 world championship silver-medallist women's lightweight rowing double of Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee facing elimination in the repechage after a shockingly poor openinground race.

The Island duo showed why they are favoured for the London Olympic podium with a second-place finish in the repechage to advance to Thursday's semifinals.

"Obviously, we wanted to go out and win the rep. But what we have to take home with us is recognizing that as we are moving through the regatta, we are improving," said Claremont-grad Jennerich, who is teaming with Stelly's-grad Obee.

"We had a plan to strike a better rhythm, which we did. I am very proud we made immense improvement. If we can step it up again, we are going to have a good semi."

Not that anything is a given at the Olympics.

"The semi is going to be an extremely tough race and we'll have to race that semi like it's a final," said Jennerich.

It wasn't as successful a Tuesday for other Island athletes as dreams of the Olympic podium ended for the Canadian men's rowing double of Michael Braithwaite of Duncan and Kevin Kowalyk of Winnipeg, who were sixth in their semifinal, and the Elk Lake-based Canadian men's lightweight double of Doug Vandor and Morgan Jarvis, fourth in their repechage.

At the London Aquatic Centre, the Canadian men's 4x200 freestyle relay swim team, which included Blake Worsley of Victoria and Alec Page of Campbell River, placed seventh in its qualifying race and failed to advance.

Meanwhile, Island athletes are hoping for a big day today in London with Hesjedal, considered a credible time trialer who was 16th in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, looking forward to tackling the 44-kilometre Olympic course that begins and ends at Hampton Court Palace.

But the opposition - which includes the 1-2 Tour de France punch of Bradley Wiggins and Christopher Froome of Great Britain, defending 2008 Beijing Olympic time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland and defending 2011 world champion Tony Martin of Germany - promises to be stiff.

Hesjedal expects a vibrant atmosphere as thousands of fans line the course for the free event which features British medal hopefuls Wiggins and Froome.

"It's been incredible so far [in London] and it will surely be the same at the time trial," said Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro d'Italia champion.

"Thanks for all the amazing support from everyone [at home]."

On the water at Dorney Lake, the race of truth is at 4: 30 a.m. today for the Elk Lake-based defending Olympic champion men's rowing eight in their final.

On the sand at Horse Guards Parade in the heart of historic London, Martin Reader of the Comox Valley faces his moment of truth as he and teammate Josh Binstock of Toronto are 1-1 in men's beach volleyball. A win in their final pool match against world No. 3 Brazil today at noon assures the Canadians a spot in the next round. A loss would leave Reader and Binstock on the bubble.

ON TV

TODAY

3, 4 and 9 a.m on Chs. 5/23 (TSN/SNP) - TBA.

4: 30 and 6 a.m. on Ch. 24 (OLN) - Cycling.

9 a.m. on Ch. 9 (CTV) - Gymnastics, Swimming, Beach Volleyball.

9 a.m. on Ch. 10 (OMNI) - Soccer, teams TBA.

EARLY THURSDAY

1 a.m. on Ch. 9 (CTV) - Rowing, Tennis, Judo, Gymnastics.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com