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Cink finishes off U23 career with world championship win

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Daniele Braidot (Italy) on his way to a bronze medal

Daniele Braidot (Italy) on his way to a bronze medal
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Michael van der Heijden (Netherlands) spent a lot of time off the front and finished with a silver medal

Michael van der Heijden (Netherlands) spent a lot of time off the front and finished with a silver medal
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Julian Schelb (Germany), Marek Konwa (Poland) and Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) at the front at the start of the U23 men's race

Julian Schelb (Germany), Marek Konwa (Poland) and Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) at the front at the start of the U23 men's race
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Jordan Sarrou (France) finished with his saddle looking like this after a piece broke off. Wearing number 13, he looked to be in pain after riding with this saddle.

Jordan Sarrou (France) finished with his saddle looking like this after a piece broke off. Wearing number 13, he looked to be in pain after riding with this saddle.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Alex Gehbauer (Austria) was the home crowd favorite, but he had some bad luck on the day

Alex Gehbauer (Austria) was the home crowd favorite, but he had some bad luck on the day
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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A German rider catches air over the infamous rock drop.

A German rider catches air over the infamous rock drop.
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) wins the under 23 men's race at the 2012 MTB world championships

Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) wins the under 23 men's race at the 2012 MTB world championships
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) was delighted to stand on the top step of the U23 men's cross country Worlds podium

Ondrej Cink (Czech Republic) was delighted to stand on the top step of the U23 men's cross country Worlds podium
(Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Ondrej Cink capped off a great season on Friday afternoon by winning the under 23 men's cross country race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Saalfelden, Australia. Earlier this year, he won the European U23 Championships and two U23 World Cups, one in Houffalize and one in Nove Mesto.

"I had hoped for victory today. I concentrated on this date and I'm happy to meet my goal," said Cink, who will move into the elite ranks in 2013. "I trained very hard and wanted to finish my time in the U23 category with such a good result, although I think winning today was more than I had expected before this season."

For much of the race, Cink chased race leader Michael van der Heijden (Netherlands), but as the race progressed, Cink got stronger and stronger as the Dutch rider started to fatigue.

"When Michael attacked, I thought the race was over, but when I saw him on the flats, I knew I could catch him," said Cink. "I had also expected Alexander Gehbauer (Austria) to be strong, but he had a flat tire."

Cink, who races for the Merida Biking Team, has spent some time with another World Champion from the Czech Republic: Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized). When asked about their relationship, he told Cyclingnews, "Jaroslav is a different rider than me, but I'm happy to have joined him in training on this course. Jaroslav is a world champion and an Olympic champion, and I'd like to do the same as him, but I have to follow my own way."