A disappointed looking Schurter tried hard to put a positive spin on his runner up place. "It's hard to lose the race by Brown Air Force Ones High
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"It's incredible, it's the best moment in my life because the Olympic gold medal is the biggest prize in sport," said Kuhlavy.
Italian Marco Fontana finished third to take the bronze at 25 seconds behind Kulhavy's winning time of 1:29:07. Julien Absalon's dream of winning a third consecutive gold was ended when the defending champion suffered a puncture Nike Air Force 25 Low early in the race.
Stander's said his fifth place finish was a huge disappointment. "It's four years and I had a realistic chance, but there were 10 guys here with a realistic chance of winning this race," he said.
Schurter said: "I didn't want to get into any trouble from guys making mistakes. That's why I was always racing at the front the whole race. It was a good strategy, in the end there was just one guy stronger than me."
so little. I was so close," said the Swiss. "At first I was really disappointed first thing that goes through your head is that you've lost the gold medal now I'm happy because I did a really good race. "Jaroslav was just stronger in the last 200 meters."
at 2012 Olympic XC Race
But even before that mishap, Schurter and Kulhavy were expected to be in the fight for the medals. The pair were among a leading group whose ferocious pace left many of their rivals trailing from the start on the technical Hadleigh Farm course. And when it came to a duel at the finish, 27 year old Kulhavy powered ahead of Schurter on the final chicane to finish just 1 second ahead of the Beijing bronze medalist.
Fontana admitted any other color of medal would not have been deserved: "The two guys ahead of me have been going really fast all season. They were better than me so credit to them."
Czech world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy was crowned king of the men's Olympic mountain biking after Nike Air Force 1 Low Upstep Br Trainer
A series of attacks by Kuhlavy on lap four forced Schurter and Fontana to dig deep but also virtually eliminated South African Burry Stander and Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain, who had been chasing.
a seven lap race that left Swiss Nino Schurter in a close second Sunday.
"Nino was really strong and we had a really big fight at the end," said Kuhlavy. "My last chance was in the chicane just before the finish and I just gave it everything I had."
On the final lap Schurter and Kuhlavy dropped Fontana after a brief surge of pace took him to the front on the way to the switchback climb of Snake Hill. They then attacked each other several times on the final climb before the Swiss rider crested in the lead. With only a few hundred meters to race, however, Kuhlavy found a last droplet of energy to come round Schurter before the finish.
Kulhavy and Schurter were determined to stay out of trouble on the course technical features. Their strategy had the double effect of keeping them free of crashes and eliminating many of the rivals who, once trailing, found the pace even harder to match on the track's tight trails.
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