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ABSALON Julien
ABSALON Julien

Julien ABSALON

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Mountain bike king

Double Olympic champion and quadruple world champion Julien Absalon has been the dominant figure in men’s mountain bike racing for over a decade.

Destiny calls

Born in 1980, Julien Absalon’s childhood and teenage years coincided with the birth and development of mountain biking as a sport in its own right. He grew up in the Vosges region of north east France, where the forests and mountainous terrain are ideally suited to the sport. He had his first taste of mountain biking at the age of 14, after being introduced to the sport by a family friend. He took to it immediately and was very soon entering junior competitions, where his talent caught the eye of local coach Gerard Brocks. Brocks took the young rider under his wing, eventually guiding him the international elite level of the sport.

MTB’s brightest star

After winning his first junior world title in 1998, Absalon went from strength to strength, going on to dominate the young sport of cross-country for over a decade. In addition to being crowned French cross-country champion 10 years running between 2003 and 2012, he won four straight World Championship titles between 2004 and 2007, one European Championship title in 2006, and five World Cup crowns between 2003 and 2009.

Olympic double

On 28 August 2004, on the rugged slopes of Mount Parnitha to the north of Athens, Absalon surged free of the chasing pack on the fourth lap of the seven-lap 6.1km Olympic cross-country circuit. He timed his breakaway to coincide with the toughest climb, but retained his lead until the finish to win his first Olympic title, a full minute ahead of second-placed Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain. It was a moment of high emotion for the Frenchman, who raised a finger to the heavens as he crossed the line, in honour of his father, who passed away in 2001. Four years later, on the Laoshan circuit in Beijing, Absalon adopted near identical tactics to those that had brought him glory in Athens, launching a solo breakaway before the halfway point to finish well clear of the pack. On crossing the finish line he held his bike aloft in triumph, before kneeling down to kiss the Olympic rings painted on the tarmac. “I’ve dreamed of winning this second Olympic title a thousand times, but when it actually happened the feeling was even more intense than I imagined,” he explained.

Dream punctured in London On 12 August 2012, Absalon’s bid to complete a historic hat-trick of Olympic titles at London 2012 met with disaster on the Hadleigh Farm circuit when he suffered a puncture during the first lap and was forced to drop out of the race. Shortly afterwards, he joined the Switzerland-based BMC MTB Racing Team to continue his pursuit of international glory.

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Gallery

Mascot Athens 2004
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Mascot Athens 2004

Phivos and Julien Absalon, Olympic mountain bike champion
Kishimoto Wataru Abe
Olympics Day 15 - Cycling - Mountain Bike
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Olympics Day 15 - Cycling - Mountain Bike

BEIJING - AUGUST 23: Julien Absalon of France celebrates victory in the Men's Cross Country mountain bike cycling event held at the Laoshan Mountain Bike Course on Day 15 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 23, 2008 in Beijing, China.
Getty Images / Phil Walter
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https://olympic-vh.akamaihd.net/i/Assets/MediaPlayer/Videos/Streaming/2008/08/23/lot1-2008 cyc mountain bike m medals 2/2008_cyc_mountain_bike_m_medals_2_,0200,0400,0600,1200,1800,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

ABSALON Julien, ALEX LIM Keng Liat - France, Switzerland

Final Moutain Bike men
Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men
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Cycling Mountain Bike - Cross-Country Men

Julien Absalon from France on his way to a gold medal during the Men's Cross-Country at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games at the Parnitha Olympic Mountain Bike Venue, on August 28, 2004 in Athens, Greece.
FOTOPRESS / Phil Walter
Mens Cross Country - Medal Ceremony
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Mens Cross Country - Medal Ceremony

Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain wins the silver medal, Julien Absalon of France wins the gold medal and Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands wins the bronze medal for the men's mountain bike cross country event on August 28, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Parnitha Olympic Mountain Bike Venue in Athens, Greece.
Getty Images / Robert Laberge
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https://olympic-vh.akamaihd.net/i/Assets/MediaPlayer/Videos/Streaming/2004/08/13/lot4-absalon julien cio wm high/absalon_julien_cio_wm_high_,0200,0400,0600,.mp4.csmil/master.m3u8

Julien Absalon Defends Mountain Bike Olympic Title

At the Athens 2004 Games, Julien Absalon of France becomes and Olympic champion for the first time, winning the mountain bike event in 2:15.03. Absalon makes his best during Beijing 2008 to keep his Olympic title. In 1 hour 55 minutes and 59 seconds, Julien achieves his golden goal, capturing his second consecutive gold medal. Julien Absalon (FRA) - Mountain Bike - Athens 2004, Beijing 2008

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