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Cycling at the 2012 London Summer Games:

Women's Mountainbike, Cross-Country

Cycling at the 2012 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Hadleigh Farm, Hadleigh, Essex
Date Started: August 12, 2012
Date Finished: August 12, 2012

Gold: FRA Julie Bresset
Silver: GER Sabine Spitz
Bronze: USA Georgia Gould

Summary

Canada's Catharine Pendrel was such a favorite to win the women's mountain bike cross-country event at the 2012 Summer Olympics that her national Olympic Committee delayed choosing a flagbearer for the closing ceremony until after she competed. After having finished fourth at the 2008 Summer Games, missing out on bronze by nine seconds, she gained more notoriety in her field and went on to win the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 World Championships. Going into the London Olympics ranked #1, she won the test event on the course, sealing her reputation as the favorite. In a sport as unpredictable as mountain biking, however, she would certainly not go unchallenged. Sabine Spitz of Germany, the defending Olympic champion and World Champion in 2003, was forty years old but had not slowed down and was well-prepared to defend her Olympic title. Poland's Maja Włoszczowska, the 2010 World Champion and a silver medalist at both the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2011 World Championships, was not competing due to injury but Beijing's Olympic bronze medalist and two-time World Champion Irina Kalentyeva of Russia was expected to mount a challenge to Pendrel as well. Finally there was hometown favorite Annie Last who, although never finishing better than eighth at a major international competition, had spent two years training as a senior rather than in the under-23 division in the hopes of being selected for the 2012 Summer Olympics. With the support of the sold-out, 20,000 strong crowd at the event, she could certainly not be counted out.

After the start Pendrel, Last, and Spitz helped form a four rider-strong lead group that included Julie Bresset of France, the most recent under-23 World Champion. These cyclists put some distance between themselves and the field behind in the beginning, but Pendrel and Last began to fade by the second lap and were eventually passed by American Georgia Gould, who came from around 16th position to 7th by the end of the first lap. Following a collision between Pendrel and Last, Bresset, Spitz, and Gould led the field and were never challenged. Bresset was usually in front of the trio, with Spitz and Gould exchanging podium positions until Spitz crashed on a technical section approximately halfway through the race, which forced Gould to stop. Bresset used the opportunity to break away and was all but assured the gold medal, which she claimed over a minute ahead of anyone else. Spitz and Gould were still far ahead of their closest competitors and, while Gould's early charge from 16th to podium position eventually cost her energy, Spitz was able to use her experience to outmanoeuver her opponent and win silver a comfortable six seconds ahead of her American rival. Gould finished with the bronze medal, a respectable 33 seconds ahead of Kalentieva, who was fourth. Last and Pendrel faded to eighth and ninth respectively, certainly a disappointing finish for the overwhelming favorite in the race.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal T I1T I1R I2T I2R I3T I3R I4T I4R I5T I5R I6T I6R
1 Julie Bresset 23 France FRA Gold 1-30:52 0:56 5 15:43 1 30:43 1 45:46 1 1-00:40 1 1-15:45 1
2 Sabine Spitz 40 Germany GER Silver 1-31:54 0:55 1 15:45 4 30:45 2 45:50 2 1-01:13 2 1-16:42 2
3 Georgia Gould 32 United States USA Bronze 1-32:00 1:02 23 15:53 9 30:50 4 45:51 3 1-01:18 3 1-16:43 3
4 Irina Kalentyeva 34 Russia RUS 1-32:33 0:56 3 15:52 8 30:54 6 46:18 4 1-01:36 4 1-17:08 4
5 Esther Süss 38 Switzerland SUI 1-32:46 1:01 19 16:03 11 31:17 10 46:33 6 1-02:05 6 1-17:38 5
6 Alexandra Engen 24 Sweden SWE 1-33:08 1:00 16 16:11 15 31:37 14 47:13 12 1-02:52 10 1-18:03 8
7 Aleksandra Dawidowicz 25 Poland POL 1-33:20 1:00 17 16:05 12 31:33 12 46:59 9 1-02:29 7 1-17:56 6
8 Annie Last 21 Great Britain GBR 1-33:47 0:55 2 15:44 2 30:54 5 46:20 5 1-02:02 5 1-17:58 7
9 Catharine Pendrel 31 Canada CAN 1-34:28 0:58 10 15:44 3 30:45 3 46:34 7 1-02:29 8 1-18:09 9
10 Tanja Žakelj 23 Slovenia SLO 1-34:41 0:59 13 15:56 10 31:16 9 47:03 10 1-02:44 9 1-18:37 10
11 Lea Davison 29 United States USA 1-35:14 1:03 26 16:05 13 31:34 13 47:28 13 1-03:30 11 1-19:29 11
12 Shi Qinglan 26 China CHN 1-35:28 1:05 30 16:40 19 32:04 16 47:43 14 1-03:37 13 1-19:44 12
13 Yana Belomoina 19 Ukraine UKR 1-35:46 1:04 28 16:46 21 32:16 20 48:08 19 1-04:02 14 1-20:08 14
14 Kateřina Hanušová-Nash 34 Czech Republic CZE 1-36:22 0:57 7 15:50 6 31:08 7 47:06 11 1-03:30 12 1-19:46 13
15 Elisabeth Osl 26 Austria AUT 1-36:47 0:58 11 16:52 23 32:35 21 48:25 20 1-04:26 18 1-20:35 15
16 Adelheid Morath 27 Germany GER 1-37:17 1:03 24 16:36 18 32:11 18 48:01 17 1-04:13 15 1-20:55 16
17 Eva Lechner 27 Italy ITA 1-37:36 0:58 9 16:07 14 31:51 15 48:08 18 1-04:38 19 1-21:11 17
18 Karen Hanlen 32 New Zealand NZL 1-37:54 1:00 15 16:22 16 32:11 17 47:59 16 1-04:14 16 1-21:42 19
19 Katrin Leumann 30 Switzerland SUI 1-38:23 0:56 4 15:48 5 31:09 8 46:44 8 1-05:01 20 1-22:11 21
20 Rie Katayama 32 Japan JPN 1-38:26 1:03 25 17:05 28 33:00 23 49:10 21 1-05:26 21 1-21:55 20
21 Janka Števková 36 Slovakia SVK 1-39:05 1:04 27 16:52 24 33:21 26 49:39 23 1-06:11 23 1-22:49 22
22 Paula Gorycka 21 Poland POL 1-39:18 1:04 29 17:00 27 33:07 24 49:28 22 1-06:11 22 1-22:49 23
23 Blaža Klemenčič 32 Slovenia SLO 1-39:42 0:57 8 15:52 7 31:25 11 47:45 15 1-04:19 17 1-21:33 18
24 Emily Batty 24 Canada CAN 1-40:37 0:59 12 16:49 22 33:20 25 50:10 25 1-06:54 25 1-23:49 24
25 Rebecca Henderson 20 Australia AUS 1-41:35 1:01 20 16:57 26 33:31 27 50:11 26 1-06:48 24 1-24:07 25
26 Pauline Ferrand-Prevot 20 France FRA 1-42:21 0:59 14 16:23 17 32:48 22 49:56 24 1-07:09 26 1-24:32 26
27 Barbara Benkó 22 Hungary HUN 1-43:24 1:01 18 16:56 25 33:37 28 50:57 27 1-08:21 27 1-25:53 27
28 Candice Neethling 20 South Africa RSA 1-45:03 1:01 21 17:06 29 33:56 29 51:33 28 1-09:13 28 1-27:02 28
AC Gunn Rita Dahle-Flesjå 39 Norway NOR 0:57 6 16:44 20 32:12 19 DNF
AC Laura Abril 22 Colombia COL 1:02 22 DNF