LONDON, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic won a thrilling duel with one of top figures in his sport Sunday to grab the Olympic cross-country cycling gold medal.
Kulhavy battled Switzerland's Nino Schurter to the line and won by a single second. Italy's Marco Aurelio Fontana was 24 seconds farther back in the bronze medal position.
Two-time defending champion Julien Absolon of France did not finish the race.
Schurter wound up third in this event four years ago in Beijing and has both a gold and silver medal from world championship competitions.
The three top finishers rode together at the front for much of the race. They traveled a course laid out in a meadow bedecked with wildflowers but one that included difficult uphill stretches and dangerous downhill plunges over and between rocks.
This was the fifth time cross-country cycling has been contested at the Olympics.