Cycling: Absalon crashes out in mountain bike race
HADLEIGH, Aug 12 – Defending champion Julien Absalon of France pulled out of the Olympic men’s mountain bike race after a puncture ruined his chances of clinching a third title in a row today.
Absalon, the 2004 and 2008 champion and one of the pre-race favourites, withdrew from the race on the second of seven 4.7-kilometre laps after he suffered a flat tyre on the opening circuit. Czech Jaroslav Kulhavy eventually took the gold.
The French team initially said Absalon had crashed but the rider said he had only put his foot on the ground after being slowed down by a rider ahead of him.
“I had a flat tyre in the first lap. It’s the worst scenario,” Absalon told reporters.
“A mechanical fault, that’s the worst thing. I think my tyre progressively deflated. At the start I felt one of my tyres was a bit low pressured but I thought it was in my head.”
It was not and Absalon was forced to change his wheel, losing ground on a trio of leaders, lagging 54 seconds behind at the end of the first lap.
“I lost motivation. It was not worth it because any chance of a medal was gone,” said Absalon.
“I did not want to ride fast laps because I would have compared my times with the others and I was afraid I would be even more disappointed.
“I could have accepted having a bad day, to be beaten, I was ready for that. But not to be able to defend your title because of a mechanical issue, it’s hard to take.” – Reuters