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Defending champion Absalon leads smooth victory through bumpy road on mountain bike

Source: Xinhua | 08-23-2008 22:57

Special Report:   2008 Beijing Olympic Games

BEJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Defending Olympic champion Julien Absalon of France exhibited his dominant power in the men's mountain bike cross country with a convincing victory at the Beijing Olympic Games here on Saturday.

The four-time world champion finished the 8-lap zigzagging Laoshan mountain bike course at 1 hour 55 minutes and 59 seconds, enjoying a clear advantage over the chaser group with a margin of 1 minute 07 seconds.

His compatriot Jean-Christophe Peraud won the silver medal at 1:57:06, while Nino Schurter from Switzerland finished third at 1:57:52.

Ji Jianhua, the only Chinese rider who participated in the discipline, finished 22nd at 2:05:29, the best-ever result achieved by Asian male riders at the Olympics.

The Frenchman who celebrated his 28th birthday during the Games placed third in the first lap. Since the second lap, however, he had never left any chance for the chasers to challenge him and enjoyed a widening lead.

As soon as he crossed the finish line, he jumped off and raised the bike over his head to celebrate the victory.

The Laoshan mountain bike staged huge challenges to the Olympic riders, many of whom fell down from their bikes during speedy chases.