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Argentina wins men's madison cycling gold
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Argentina won the men's madison cycling gold medal at the Beijing Olympic Games on Tuesday. [Xinhua]

Britain's gold haul at the Laoshan Velodrome was stopped here Tuesday, with Argentina clinching the gold in men's madison race.

Argentina got eight points, one more than Spain and two more than Russia, which were seated at the second and third places respectively.

Juan Esteban Curuchet and Walter Fernando Perez burst into ecstatic tears after winning the first cycling gold for Argentina in the exhausting 50-kilometer race and held their national flag along the track, where they achieved the most glamorous glory in their career.

Curuchet, a 43-year-old veteran, finished No.9 in men's madison at Athens Olympics, pairing up with 33-year-old Perez, and No.7 in Sydney. In 2004, they won the world championships title in Melbourne, Australia.

"I've been in the Olympics since 1984, and this is the best moment of my life," said Curuchet with emotion. "After 20 minutes in the race, I was sick. I was extremely tired."

While his partner Perez dedicated the gold medal to his mother who died last year.

"It's unbelievable. It's a dream come true," said Perez. "I want to thank my wife and children. This gold medal is a gift for them."

"The world championships are held once every year, while the Olympic Games are only every four years. They are very special. I hope this will be a boost for cycling in Argentina," he said.

Pre-games favorites Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins didn't continue the gold rush trend of Britain in cycling track, finishing the race at an awkward No.9 place among total 16 teams.

The British cyclists bagged five out of seven golds in previous races at Laoshan Velodrome, and secured a sixth one with the two final berths in men's sprint occupied by two Britons Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny.

The madison is a 200-lap, two-man race with ten sprints every 20 laps. Only one rider from each nation is racing at a time.

(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2008)

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