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Peraud takes a mellow approach to Roc d'Azur

Jean Christophe Peraud ended up taking a leisurely approach to the end-of-season Roc d'Azur mountain bike race in France, where he finished 56th.

The French mountain biker, who also excels at time trials on the road, competed for Team Massi in the 53km cross country race on Sunday. The race brought together many of mountain biking's top European stars for a low pressure event to close out the 2009 European season.

Peraud won the race in 2003 and 2007 and started this year's edition with the intention of staying at the front as the leaders approached the first singletrack. Twelve kilometers into the race, he was enjoying a spot near the front of the race. However, as the kilometers ticked by, he wasn't feeling as good any more and instead took the approach of finishing the season with some fun.

Along one section of the track lined with thousands of spectators, Peraud gave some time to journalists, doing an interview as took a side trip, running on the beach of St. Aigulf.

A few other stars shared Peraud's good spirits. He crossed the line with friends Inaki Lejarreta Errasti, Maxime Marotte and Stephane Tempier, all riding together while enjoying the day 17:21 behind the winner Roel Paulissen.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.