gold medal

gold medal

2014 UCI WCHs XCE MenClip ... "all the hard work pays off".

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The 2014 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships in Hafjell, Norway, opened on Tuesday with the first titles awarded in the Eliminator. Kathrin Stirnemann gave Switzerland their first title of the championships in the women's competition, while Fabrice Mels of Belgium took the men's gold medal. The event was held in the unique historic village of Maihaugen, on the outskirts of Lillehammer, which offers examples of Norwegian architecture going back hundreds of years. The 840 metre course has everything from gravel road, to rocks and roots, drops and banked turns. The men's competition saw numerous crashes and some top riders go out of contention early. Defending world champion Paul van der Ploeg (Australia) went out in the first round, while Simon Gegenheimer (Germany) did not even qualify for the 32 finalists. Mels qualified fastest and won his first two races, before finishing second to Kevin Miquel (France) in the semi-final that put both riders into the medal race. They were joined by Emil Lindgren (Sweden) and Daniel Federspiel (Austria) for the final. Federspiel got off to a fast start, but then his rear wheel broke and he crashed into Miquel, holding up the rest of the riders. Miquel was the first to get going and opened a sizable gap before Lindgren began to close in the second half of the race. In the final sharp left turn, Lindgren attempted to cut inside of Miquel, catching his pedal in the French rider's wheel and giving Mels a clear path to victory. Lindgren took second ahead of a very disappointed Miquel. "I had a very bad start," explained Mels, "and I was trying to keep up the pace and to pass Emil (Lindgren) because he had a quite big gap to Kevin (Miquel). Then, at the end, Lindgren came on the inside of Kevin and they crashed, so I had the way open to the finish line." "It's crazy. I was waiting for the sprint because I had not a very good start, so with this ... yeah, it is beyond my imagination at the moment. I am really happy." "This is way above winning the World Cup; way, WAY above it. You have the Rainbow Jersey, and you can wear it all the year, and that makes it so nice. You work so hard for it the whole year, and then getting this ... all the hard work pays off."