Young French rider Julie Bresset gave her opponents a true lesson in the art of mountain biking when she out-rode the rest of the field to take gold in her first-ever Olympic Games.
Hadleigh Farm, in Essex, provided the stage for her impressive demonstration which saw the Under-23 World Champion cross the finish line more than a minute in front of her chasers.
At 40 years old, the 2008 Olympic Champion in Beijing, Sabine Spitz (GER) took silver, and the American Georgia Gould (32 years) bronze.
Despite her young age, Bresset rode an emphatic race in which she dominated most of the way. Great Britainâ€™s Annie Last set the pace in the first of five laps, but Bresset gradually asserted herself, pulling a small group with her. By the third lap, the French rider had a 20 second lead over Spitz and Gould which she widened in the fourth lap. By the fifth and final lap it was clear that only a major crash or technical problem would stop her in her quest for gold.
The battle for silver was more hard-fought, with only one second separating Spitz and Gould going into the last lap. However the German athlete managed to extend this to six seconds by the time the two riders reached the finish.
The menâ€™s cross country race will take place at Hadleigh Farm tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon.
Photo: Julie Bresset (FRA) on her way to Olympic gold
UCI Communication Services