RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - German powerhouse Kristina Vogel finished the individual track sprint final with her bike falling apart underneath her but somehow held on for Olympic gold on Tuesday.
Vogel was at full throttle trying to keep Britain’s Rebecca James at bay when her saddle dislodged from the seat post and fell to the track meters from the finish.
Despite traveling at around 60kph (37mph), she crossed the line first, sparking emotional celebrations.
“I lost it on the last metre, it was crazy,” the 25-year-old said after staunching the flow of British gold on the last day of a memorable track programme at the Rio velodrome.
“I was struggling not to crash. I just tried not to fall because at that speed you can’t stand on the pedals you have to sit.”
The 25-year-old Vogel, twice the world champion and winner of the team gold in London, made the first move in both heats and narrowly pipped her rival at the line on both occasions.
Vogel, who returned to the sport after a crash involving a minibus during a training session in 2009 left her in a coma, was overcome at the end, lying prone on the boards.
Britain’s Katy Marchant took the bronze after edging out keirin champion Elis Ligtlee of the Netherlands.
Vogel’s defeat of two Britons to win the title made it all the more special as their nation dominated in Rio, winning seven of the 10 titles up for grabs.
“It’s always good to beat them,” she said.
“It’s good that we make sure they keep their eyes open and remind them that other nations are there.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond and Andrew Hay