Vive La France! Julie Bresset Gives Country Its First Cycling Title In London


French mountain biker Julie Bresset took the London course by storm Saturday, to give the French their first top cycling finish in London. Bresset finished the six 4.7-kilometre laps 62 seconds faster than the next finisher – German Sabine Spitz. Young Georgia Gould of the United States of America rounded out the podium, crossing the line just six seconds later, securing third place.

Coming off a nasty fall in training, just days before the big race, Bresset was not confident she’d be able to compete in the London race. Recognizing that it was the biggest race of her career, she did everything she could to get back into proper riding shape. She not only did that, she crushed the course and left all of her competitors in the dust.

“I cut my arm and my knee, so two days before the start, I was not good at all” Bresset said. “I needed seven stitches. I thought ’it’s not possible’.”

Bresset’s performance was France’s fourth ever top cycling finish in the Games since it’s introduction in 2000 in Sydney. Countryman Julien Absalon had previously won in both Beijing and Athens.

Bresset had a strategy going into the race, which she put to good use. She knew she had to get out early with a great start and control the pace of the race. The 2011 World Cup champion went out front with Canadian Catharine Pendrel and eventual second place finisher, Spitz. Pendrel began to fade after two laps on the course, leaving Gould to sneak in for third place. Spitz remained in contention until she took a devastating spill in the Rock Garden portion of the course. Although she was not sure that was what lead her to loose a potential title, she gave Bresset credit for being the fastest woman on the course.

“Julie was quite strong, so it’s just speculation,” said the third place finisher in Athens. “When I crashed I lost a bit of my rhythm … but at that time Julie was already some 35 seconds ahead.”

Bresset was purely dominating throughout the day and brings home a top prize from London to a very proud nation of France. The 23-year-old was focused and determined, putting a hard thought out strategy to work on a tricky course in London.


John Ohail


August 12, 2012