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Julien Absalon wins cross country gold in Hafjell

Julien Absalon continued his golden 2014 by clinching glory in the UCI World Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships cross-country.

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Having already tasted success at the European Championships and the World Cup this year, the Frenchman made it a hat-trick of gold medals in Hafjell on Saturday.

Absalon trailed Nino Schurter for much of the race, before eventually reeling in the Swiss and pulling away in the closing stages to clinch his fifth World Championship gold and first since 2007.

Schurter held on for silver, while Italy's Marco Aurelio Fontana completed the podium.

In the women's cross-country, gold went to Catharine Pendrel of Canada.

Pendrel finished 21 seconds ahead of Russia's Irina Kalentieva, with American Lea Davison taking bronze.

It was a second World Championship gold for Pendrel, after her success in Champery three years ago.

"I tried to ride as I normally do, and said to myself that this was not an ordinary World Championship run," she said.

"It felt fantastic to win and I feel so good. I want to thank for all the support here, it gave me so much energy."

Following on from the success of Absolon earlier in the day, there was further French glory with a one-two in the men's elite trials 26".

Gilles Coustellier took gold, ahead of compatriot Aurelien Fontenoy, with Belgium's Kenny Belaey coming in third.

It was a fifth World Championship gold for Coustellier, whose final score of 16 was comfortably better than that of Fontenoy (30) and Belaey (32).

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