Women: Colourful NEFF (SUI) lives up to favourite tag to strike gold in mountain bike
GLASGOW - Swiss star Jolanda NEFF lived up to her pre-race favourite tag, producing a dazzling display in the Scottish mist to power to the women's mountain bike gold medal at Cathkin Braes on Tuesday.
NEFF clocked one hour 31 minutes 29 seconds over the 28km course to win by just over two minutes from France's Pauline FERRAND PREVOT with Belgium's Githa MICHIELS almost 90 seconds further back in the bronze medal position.
Wearing the rainbow striped jersey of the reigning world champion, golden forks on her bike and with shocking pink fingernails poking out of her cut-off black gloves, NEFF added splashes of colour to the green hills and grey sky.
She dominated the race after taking the lead on the first of five laps to claim her third European gold medal. The 25-year-old showed no fear as she flew over the bumps and took the tricky, stony descents with skill and bravery.
"Last year I crashed and missed out so to come back and win for a third time means so much," NEFF said. "I went for it right from the start and put the gas on on the first lap as I knew I could use my skills on the downhills.
"The race went perfectly for me for start to finish. This year's World championships are in my home country in Switzerland (Lenzerheide from 4-9 September) and this shows I am in a good way.
"But there will be no celebrations as we fly to Canada (for the World Cup meeting at Mont-Sainte-Anne on 10-12 August) tomorrow morning."
Former world champions FERRAND PREVOT and Gunn-Rita DAHLE FLESJAA (NOR) were in a fierce scrap for the silver medal, but there was agony for the Norwegian when she suffered a broken chain on the third lap and had to push her bike for a long period before she could get a new chain. The 45-year-old dropped from second to finish an unlucky 13th.
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