In Beijing, he became the first man to defend the Olympic cross-country mountain bike title. He rode the Laoshan course flawlessly to win his second gold following Athens in 2004. The four-time world champion pulled away from his rivals on the second of eight laps to win the 36km race in 1hr 55.59 mins.  The super strong Frenchman dominated in harsh course conditions and high temperatures and had lapped 20 of the 50 starters by the finish.

Email Sign up

Email Sign-up

Sign up for all things Laureus

Get regular updates throughout the year