Bike venue gets Olympic approval
August 05, 2011
Julien Absalon and Catharine Pendrel secured victory in the men and women's events respectively at the Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike International Invitational, witnessed by nearly 5,000 spectators at the recently-completed Essex venue.
The event marked the first competitive opportunity for Olympic hopefuls to try the course ahead of London 2012, although some racers believe changes are needed before next year.
Adding an extra lap, widening the lanes and slowing the course were some of the suggestions made and Jevans insists the organisers will take on board the riders' feedback.
"This is a key event for us as part of our London Prepare events," said Jevans.
"One of the main reasons that we test is for the field of play and the athletes. Every athlete has a questionnaire that they fill in. They give us that feedback and then there is a debrief to the international federation.
"As we have done with all our events, we then take that feedback and take the course to the next level.
"That said, I think we will all agree that it was an absolutely spectacular and stunning course.
"It is one that allows a vista not only for the spectators but also on the television.
"One of the learnings we took away from (the 2008 Olympics in) Beijing is that if you were a spectator there, you could not see very much and had to watch the majority of the event on a screen.
"Here there are several vantage points where the spectator can actually view the athletes."
She added: "We will take all of the learnings from the debrief to ensure that 2012 is even more spectacular than what you saw today [Sunday].
"For us, this was an incredibly successful event."
On the course, two-time Olympic gold medallistAbsalon secured victory in the men's event by one minute and 20 seconds.
Switzerland's ChristophSauser was the Frenchman's nearest rivals and Karl Markt of Austria came third, while Lee Williams' 20th place saw him end the day as Great Britain's highest-placed rider.
In the women's race, world number one Pendrel won at a canter as she finished 56 seconds ahead of Georgie Gould of the United States.
Just three seconds separated the pair heading into the final lap but Gould was wiped out after the 'Leap of Faith' drop after touching wheels with Pendrel, allowing the Canadian to romp to victory in Essex.
Julie Bresset of France finished third with a sizeable lead over fourth-placed Elisabeth Osl of Austria.