Fabrice Mels claims UCI mountain bike gold
Cyclist Fabrice Mels of Sint-Niklaas rode to victory yesterday in the UCI Mountain Bike Championships in Norway, taking advantage of other contenders’ crashes
Mels also World Cup champion
Mels – already World Cup champion – fell to the back of the pack in the early stages, while favourite Daniel Federspiel from Austria was knocked from his bike by France’s Kevin Miquel on the first climb. Miquel later collided with Sweden’s Emil Lindgren in the approach to the final bend, opening the door for Mels (pictured) to ease through and take the gold medal.
The 22-year-old from Sint-Niklaas acknowledged he had been fortunate. "I saw those two getting into each other on the last corner, and then it was like an open field for me to take the win,” he said. “I got really lucky. I thought it would be hard for me to win from third position, but it worked out quite well.”
The eliminator was held at the Maihaugen Museum in Lillehammer, with a course winding through the forested grounds and around a peaceful lake. Mels rated his win in Norway far higher than his World Cup triumph earlier this year. “This is way above it,” he said. “You have the rainbow jersey, and you can wear it the whole year. You work so hard for it the whole year and then the hard work pays off.”