Olympic mountain bike champion Julie Bresset, 23, returned home to Ploeuc sur Lié, France, on Tuesday afternoon, where nearly 300 people gathered to welcome and cheer the gold medal winner, according to velovert.com. Bresset stepped off a train and onto a red carpet, posing for photographs, signing autographs and giving out hugs. What followed later were speeches and a party with 2,000 people.
The BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry racer made history by winning the World Cup in 2011 while she was still a U23 rider. Then one week ago, she won the Olympic women's cross country mountain bike race in her first year as an elite rider.
Bresset described what it was like on the top of the Olympic podium. "I felt a lot of things. I couldn't believe it. Standing on the podium was great! Tears just wouldn't stop running down my face. My family, my friends, my coach came to mind."
Bresset had promised to throw a big party if she won the Olympics. "I must say, though, I haven't stopped celebrating since Saturday. I'm going to celebrate in Spain, too."
The Olympic day went perfectly for the French woman, who looked smooth and comfortable throughout the race while her main rival world champion Catharine Pendrel had a bad day.
"I was super focused and in very good form. I liked the circuit. I'd decided to stay on the front and rely on my racing technique. It was a perfect race. This was a rhythmical course, with abrupt gradients and recovery sections, was good for me."
When asked what comes next for big goals in her career, Bresset said, "I don't know. We'll have to wait and see how the upcoming seasons unfold."
She is expected to race the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Saalfelden, Austria, in early September.