Last eighth in mountain bike

First published in National Sport News © by

Great Britain cyclist Annie Last finished in eighth position on her Olympic debut in the women's cross-country mountain bike at Hadleigh Farm.

A dominant performance saw Julie Bresset of France win the gold medal. World under-23 champion Bresset led from the gun and triumphed in one hour 30 minutes 52 seconds.

The 2008 champion Sabine Spitz of Germany was second, 1min 02secs behind, with Georgia Gould of the United States third, six seconds further adrift and Last was 2:55 behind Bresset.

Last made a strong start on the first of six laps of the 4.7-kilometre route, carved into an Essex hillside overlooking the Thames estuary, and was in the front group early on.

The 21-year-old from Bakewell was in good company and was behind only Bresset at the end of the first lap and the Frenchwoman forged on in the second, leading again, with Spitz second and world champion Catharine Pendrel third. Last was fifth, 11 seconds behind.

Gould joined Spitz and Bresset in the front group as the Frenchwoman went through the start-finish line with a lead of four seconds with three laps to go. Last was 34 seconds adrift.

Spitz went over her handlebars with Gould behind her on a steep rocky section known as Deane's Drop as Bresset went further clear.

Bresset appeared unstoppable as she passed through the two-laps to go marker in 1hr 40secs, with Spitz 33secs adrift and Gould trying to stay with the German. Last was 1min 22secs behind in fifth.

With one lap to go Bresset led by 57secs and appeared set for victory. Last was 2:13 behind in seventh.

Bresset continued to power on as she soloed to victory - France's first cycling gold of the Olympics.

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