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Spitz easily wins Olympic mountain bike gold medal

Spitz easily wins Olympic mountain bike gold medal

Sabine Spitz of Germany took the gold medal in the Olympic women's mountain bike race on Saturday, adding it to the bronze she won at the Athens Games four years ago.
Spitz finished six laps around the 4.45-kilometer (2.75-mile) course in 1 hour, 45 minutes, 11 seconds. She stopped about five meters from the finish, hopped off her bike and carried it across the finish line.
Spitz had led almost from the beginning. She said she managed to get ahead of world champion Margarita Fullana on the first lap and from then on she was on her own.
"I was very pleased. I could hear some shouts behind me. Then I was able to get into the rhythm and maintain that. I was relatively relaxed," she said.
Spitz, 36, is the 2003 world champion and competing in her third Olympics. She said she believed that sometimes being a little older was a benefit in mountain biking.
"Mountain biking is a very tough sport mentally, so with age you can get stronger," she said.
She added that when she stood on the podium she would have liked to have had a sign that read: "It is possible to win without doping."
Maja Wloszczowska of Poland won the silver, finishing 41 seconds behind Spitz. Irina Kalentieva of Russia won the bronze, another 36 seconds back.
"I've worked very hard for this. It is the work of many people," Wloszczowska said.
Defending gold medalist Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa of Norway only completed three laps before dropping out, citing mechanical problems. Marie-Helene Premont of Canada, the silver medalist from Athens, suffered breathing problems and only completed one lap. Fullana also pulled out before the end.
Catharine Pendrel of Canada fought Kalentieva all the way for the bronze medal, but couldn't keep up with her on the last lap.
"Irina is a really strong competitor. I made a shifting error on the last lap and she got ahead of me. It definitely would be nice to be standing on that podium," Pendrel said.


Updated : 2021-06-14 11:49 GMT+08:00