Athens, Greece (Sports Network)-
Julien Absalon of France led wire-to-wire to win the gold medal in the men's cross country mountain bike race Saturday at the Olympics, finishing the 26.9 mile course in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 2 seconds.
Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain was second, exactly one minute behind. Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands, who won the gold medal when the sport debuted at the Olympics in 1996, was third, 2:03 behind Absalon.
Miguel Martinez of France, the gold medalist from 2000 and bronze medalist from 1996, did not finish after withdrawing on lap six of the seven-lap race. He fell during the first lap and had struggled to make up time on the leaders.
"I don't have legs anymore. I had a good race except when I fell on the first lap," Martinez said. "I had to fight for three laps to come back into the reckoning. I had to make a lot of effort and then I got cramp. I am also dehydrated. I am now paying for my efforts."
The top American in the field was Todd Wells at 19th, as he was more than 9 1/2 minutes in back of Absalon.