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Monday, 29 July, 2002, 10:54 GMT 11:54 UK

Redden steals in for gold

Canada's Chrissy Redden took advantage of the misfortune of pre-race favourite Caroline Alexander to claim gold in the women's mountain biking at Rivington.

Scotland's Alexander was leading by well over one minute on the first lap of the circuit when she punctured her rear tyre on one of the rocky descents.

Redden took the opportunity to storm into the lead and held off the strong challenge of Susy Pryde of New Zealand, who won silver, and Australia's Mary Grigson who settled for bronze.

Alexander, 34, tried in vain to repair the puncture with a foam injection system and was forced to drop out.

"My earpiece told me that Susy was close"
Champion Chrissy Redden

The English duo of Sue Thomas and Jenny Copnall also suffered punctures.

Thomas repaired her tyre while Copnall persisted with her flat but both finished well off the pace.

After the race Redden told BBC Sport Online that she always knew Pryde was hot on her heels.

"I saw Caroline's puncture and I wanted her to fix it fast," she said.

"I knew that Caroline that could come back any time. Mary Grigson is also very strong and she usually comes fast especially on the last part of a race.

"My earpiece told me that Susy was close. Had she been close to me on the road then she probably would have past me.

"There was a stage on the third lap when my lead went from a minute-and-a-half to 30 seconds."

"But I held on and I'm so ecstatic now."

No luck

Alexander, who has had little luck in major championships having failed to win a medal at either world or Olympic level, put her misfortune to one side.

"This race is over and I'm going to win the road race," she said.

Team manager Alasdair MacLennan said it was a "freak accident" but backed Alexander, who had burst into tears on the course, to take out her frustrations on the road.

"Scots never lie down," he said. "We'll come back fighting don't you worry."

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