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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 September 2007, 22:12 GMT 23:12 UK
Absalon takes mountain bike gold
Julien Absalon celebrates
Absalon (centre) celebrates with Naef (left) and Vogel
Frenchman Julien Absalon set a new record of three world titles with cross country victory at the World Mountain Bike Championships in Fort William.

The 27-year-old Olympic champion completed the gruelling, six-lap, 51.4 km course in 02:17:06.

Swiss riders Ralph Naef and Florian Vogel claimed the silver and bronze medals respectively.

British number one Oli Beckingsale was 35th with England's Commonwealth gold medallist Liam Killeen down in 44th.

Beckingsale, who has suffered health problems in 2007, as has Killeen, said the race had reflected his season.

"I'm disappointed, but my whole season has been pretty disappointing," he said.

"I wanted to be at my best but I've not quite been at my best - it sums up my whole season really."

Fellow Brits Ian Wilkinson, Paul Oldham and Nick Craig put in solid performances, with Wilkinson finishing a gutsy 42nd, Paul Oldham in 55th and veteran Craig - the oldest man in the field - an impressive 61st from a 100-strong field.

The powerful Absalon showed his class, leaving the rest of the world's top riders fighting it out for second place.

At one point, the world number one led by over minute and eventually came home 25 seconds ahead of Naef.

"There was no way I was going to lose it," said Absalon.

"I rode a perfect race on a perfect course and it was a special day for me."

In the women's event, Britain's women struggled to make their mark against a strong field.

National champion Jenny Copnall came home in 47th and Scot Ruth McGavigan finished in 56th place, well behind Russian winner Irina Kalentieva.

SEE ALSO
Peak performance
30 Aug 07 |  Cycling
Absalon seals cycling glory
28 Aug 04 |  Cycling
Killeen targeting golden future
24 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Killeen secures gold for England
23 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
Liam Killeen's mountain bike guide
02 Mar 06 |  Get Involved
Bikers put on great Highland show
28 May 06 |  Highlands and Islands


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