The Czech Repulicâ€™s Jarolslav Kulhavy claimed the last gold medal for cycling at the 2012 Olympics after outsprinting Switzerlandâ€™s Nino Schurter at the end of a breathtaking mountain bike race at Hadleigh Farm, Essex.
After road cycling, track, BMX and the womenâ€™s mountain biking yesterday, the menâ€™s mountain bike race today, on the final day of the 2012 Games, was certainly worth waiting for. After nearly 1h30 of racing, only one second separated the two top men who had earlier dropped their breakaway partner, Italyâ€™s Marco Fontana.
Reigning World Champion Kulhavy, 2012 UCI World Cup winner Schurter and Fontana quickly formed the leading trio and had already created a gap on the second of seven laps. South Africaâ€™s Barry Stunder and Spainâ€™s Jose Hermida gradually made up ground, joining the leaders going into the fourth lap. The five men rode together but with two laps to go the original trio of Kulhavy, Schurter and Fontana had once again left their chasers behind.
The three front riders were inseparable, all trying to apply pressure at different times but to no avail: they were still together at the bell. Fontana made a last ditch effort to attack before Snake Hill but after being reeled in he dropped off the pace and finished alone to take the bronze medal.
Up front, the battle between Kulhavy and 2012 Schurter was nail biting, with the lead changing several times. The Czech rider took the advantage in the final short climb before the descent to the finish, and just managed to hold off Schurter until the line. The two men also finished first and second at the 2011 UCI World Championships in ChampÃ©ry, Switzerland.
Another of the race favourites, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Champion Julien Absalon (FRA) flatted in the first tour and never really got back into the running, eventually pulling out.
Photo: Just one second separated Kulhavy and Schurter at the finish
UCI Communication Services