Olympic MTB

 

Julie Bresset (France) took the Olympic women's mountain biking title with an impressive ride at Hadleigh Farm in Essex.  She was never far from the front of the race and made a decisive move to win by over a minute from defending Olympic champion Sabine Spitz of Germany who took silver and Georgia Gould (United States) bronze.

 

Olympic womens MTB race

 

"I'm very happy. It's amazing to win today. I hoped to win a medal and a gold medal is unbelievable. I started well, I took the front of the race and I managed it well. When I had a gap I told myself, 'Now, I should go'. I led until the finish and I'm very content," Bresset said.

 

The women raced six laps of the 5km course at Hadleigh Farm, created using 500 tonnes of Derbyshire stone which was shipped into the Essex venue.  GB’s Annie Last took the race on in the early stages and she led to the first climb. Her efforts caused the field to thin and the 2004 Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) got into trouble and crashed out of the race.

 

Annie Last kept the pressure on and forced a selection that included Bresset, Irina Kalentieva (Russia) and Spitz. Even the pre-race favourite Catharine Pendrel (Canada) struggled and was distanced from the leaders for a while, before she clawed her way back to on the main climb.

 

Bresset wasted no time in taking the race on and she shared the work on the front with Last. There were several moments when it looked like the pair might break away but each time Pendrel was sharp to the moves and she chased back on, dragging other riders with her. 

 

Last was eventually tailed off when Spitz attached the second time the group went up the toughest of the climbs.  Pendrel who had looked to be suffering, was also dropped from the lead group.  Georgia Gould managed to get past Pendrel and she set off to chase the leading pair.

 

Julie Bresset wins gold for France in the Olympic mountain bike race

 

Bresset kept the pressure on and showed excellent bike handling to put her breakaway companions on the limit.  This caused Spitz to make a mistake and she crashed, crucially holding up Gould and neither rider saw Bresset until they had crossed the finish line for the final time.

 

By the final lap, Bresset had the gold medal sewn up, but Gould and Spitz were both still fighting for the silver medal.  Gould looked to be working hard to stay with Spitz's and a surge from the German opened up a gap that Gould simply could not close.

 

Annie Last eventually finished in eighth-place.  "I'm really, really happy with my race," she said talking to British Cycling.  "I came here and wanted to get the best out of myself. That's what I did. I wanted to put myself in the race from the start, get a good start so I had a clean run on that first half lap.

 

"The last few laps I slipped back a bit, but I left everything out there, so I'm pleased. To be able to race at a home Olympics in front of a home crowd was incredible. The crowd the whole way round was unbelievable. You can just feel the atmosphere and feel them pushing you forward."

 

Results

1 Julie Bresset (France) 1:30:52  
2 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 0:01:02  
3 Georgia Gould (United States of America) 0:01:08  
4 Irina Kalentieva (Russian Federation) 0:01:41  
5 Esther Suss (Switzerland) 0:01:54  
6 Alexandra Engen (Sweden) 0:02:16  
7 Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Poland) 0:02:28  
8 Annie Last (Great Britain) 0:02:55  
9 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) 0:03:36  
10 Tanja Zakelj (Slovenia) 0:03:49  
11 Lea Davison (United States of America) 0:04:22  
12 Qinglan Shi (People's Republic of China) 0:04:36  
13 Yana Belomoyna (Ukraine) 0:04:54  
14 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) 0:05:30  
15 Elisabeth Osl (Austria) 0:05:55  
16 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 0:06:25  
17 Eva Lechner (Italy) 0:06:44  
18 Karen Hanlen (New Zealand) 0:07:02  
19 Katrin Leumann (Switzerland) 0:07:31  
20 Rie Katayama (Japan) 0:07:34  
21 Janka Stevkova (Slovakia) 0:08:13  
22 Paula Gorycka (Poland) 0:08:26  
23 Blaza Klemencic (Slovenia) 0:08:50  
24 Emily Batty (Canada) 0:09:45  
25 Rebecca Henderson (Australia) 0:10:43  
26 Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France) 0:11:29  
27 Barbara Benko (Hungary) 0:12:32  
28 Candice Neethling (South Africa) 0:14:11  
DNF Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)    
DNF Laura Valentina Abril Restrepo (Colombia)

 

 

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