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January 10, 2005

Selfless gesture pure gold for Cloux

From: Ballarat Courier, Australia - Jan 10, 2005

FRANCE won a war of attrition in intense heat, claiming gold and silver in the Melbourne 2005 Deaflympics 100km road race yesterday.

Staged over the rolling hills of Buninyong, the circuit proved too tough for more than half of the 28-strong field.

As other cyclists faltered, however, David Cloux battled on.

The 24-year-old broke away to establish a 40 second lead after the second of 10 laps, but was pursued hotly by fellow countryman and 2001 Deaflympic gold medallist Bernard Barugola.

By the bell lap, it was clear the pair would fight it out for the major prize.

Over four minutes separated Cloux and Barugola, who had reputations as excellent climbers, from the chasing peloton.

Australia's time-trial gold medallist Reece-Emerson Van Beek was in the hunt for bronze for much of the race, but dropped out of contention with 10km to go.

With the finish in sight and nothing between the French leaders, an excited crowd eagerly anticipated a dramatic sprint to the wire.

They were surprised and pleased, however, to see the teammates join hands as they rolled over the last 150m.

In a magnificent gesture, Barugola broke his hold at the last moment and allowed Cloux to claim victory.

"Four years ago, he (Barugola) won gold at Rome," Cloux said.

"This year, he said it was my turn.

"He said, 'Here, it's fine. You go, you're younger."'

Cloux said Barugola had cycled well to catch up to him, and they finished the race together.

"We supported each other," he said.

"He's retiring after this Deaflympics and it was lovely he gave me the chance to get gold."

Cloux completed the gruelling journey in a time of 2 hours 57 minutes and 42 seconds.

Barugola was one second behind, with Italy's Luigi Cucco, bronze, a further four minutes off the pace.

Cloux said he prepared for the Deaflympics in snow in France, and preferred to race in cooler weather.

"It was very hot, but the race seemed to go ok," he said.

"I enjoy hills, so I quite liked that. France is a lot hiller, but, here, they're more rolling. It was much better for me."

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