SPORTS

Canadian favourite Pendrel finishes 9th in mountain bike

08/11/2012 10:27 EDT | Updated 10/11/2012 05:12 EDT
Canada’s last chance to add a second gold medal at the London Olympics may be gone after women’s mountain bike favourite Catharine Pendrel struggled to a ninth-place finish Saturday on the penultimate day of the Games.

The Harvey, N.B., native is the reigning world champion in her sport and she won the Olympic test event last year at Hadleigh Farm, raising hopes that she could join trampolinist Rosie MacLennan as a Canadian gold medallist.

But Pendrel faded early, finishing well behind winner Julie Bresset of France.

"I felt so strong yesterday and today just didn't happen," said Pendrel, who now lives in Kamloops, B.C. "You know I'm sorry because I know everyone in B.C. got up at 4:30 [a.m.] to watch me.

"It's just what I had in the day and unfortunately this only comes every four years. Maybe in Rio."

Bresset built a huge lead that allowed her to cruise to the finish line with a French flag in her hands.

"This season I decided to focus only on the Olympics, and it paid off," Bresset said. "The World Cup was not important this season. The only race that mattered was today's race, and I won it."

Defending champion Sabine Spitz of Germany took the silver, reaching the podium for the third consecutive Olympics (she got a bronze in 2004). American Georgia Gould picked up the bronze.

Emily Batty of Brooklin, Ont., finished 24th in the field of 30. Cycling Canada released a statement during the race saying that Batty fractured her right clavicle when she fell during a training ride on Tuesday, but still opted to compete.

"I'm feeling like my heart is broken," Batty said. "I've trained two years for this day and my coach and fiancé has put every ounce of energy into me. To be dealt the cards that I was given four days ago was definitely a challenge."

Canada has two entries in the men’s mountain bike event on Sunday, but neither Max Plaxton nor Geoff Kabush is likely to contend for gold.

None of the Canadians competing in other sports on Saturday and Sunday — the final day of the Games — are considered top contenders for gold either.

Earlier Saturday, kayaker Mark de Jonge won a bronze medal in the men’s singles 200-metre event, giving Canada its 18th medal of the Games and its 12th bronze.

Canada won 18 medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, three of them gold.

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