November 30th - December 4th
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Mountainbike Cross Country
England dominated this event, with Nikki Harris leading from the front to win the gold medal from compatriot, Amy Hunt by over 3minutes. Third was Erica Olfield (Aus), who battled to gain her position and then to regain it after her chain broke. Michelle Bellamy (NZ) was yo-yoed between third and fourth places by the efforts made by Oldfield.
Nikki Harris led from the start and had opened a gap over Michelle Bellamy of 10 seconds by the beginning of lap 2. Amy Hunt climbed through about 1 minute in arrears to Harris. Towards the end of the second lap was where news came through of the broken chain which was suffered by Erica Olfield. This meant that she slipped to fourth place, a minute behind Bellamy and over 5 minutes down on Harris as she went into her 3rd lap.
It was 'simply' a matter of consolidating on their positions for each of the riders in the latter part of the race.
Nikki Harris clearly enjoyed her win. She celebrated with a 2 handed salute and a wide smile as she crossed the finishing line. Her advantage over Amy Hunt meant that Harris was able to accept the congratulations of the England team staff and then watch Hunt come down the hill to finish line, before the pair stood comparing notes on the course prior to the arrival of Erica Olfield.
Commenting on her performance, Nikki Harris told WomensCycling.net that she had found the race "really good fun - the course was flowing and I just really enjoyed it. I felt strong in my legs today - and in myself". Unlike other riders, who had clearly tired and were observed pushing their bikes over sections they had ridden earlier in the race, she felt strong all the way through.
Waking up to a cooler day put Harris in a good mood - she finds it quite difficult in the heat - "I was pleased when I woke up and found it was raining - like being back in England"
This Champion is not going to stop here, though. She rides road, track and MTB and confessed that "Mountainbike is not my favourite discipline".
In fact, Nikki will be back in action in less than 8 hours - on the track in the Points Race and then she will be competing in the scratch race on Thursday, before the Road Race on Friday.
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