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German's "best day' good enough

The way Marty Nothstein figured it, Germany's Jens Fiedler needed the "best day of his life" to beat him in the Olympic men's sprint final.

Guess what? Fiedler had that best day Sunday.

Fiedler beat Nothstein in the first two races of the best-of-three final, and Nothstein wound up with the silver medal.

Nothstein of Trexlertown, Pa., was trying to salvage some American pride after his teammates' poor showing in cycling, but he lost the first race by less than an inch and never led in the next against Fiedler, a two-time gold-medal winner.

"Going into today I told a few people, "He's going to have to have the best day of his life to beat me,'

" Nothstein said. "And he did."

Also on Sunday, Italy's Antonella Bellutti beat France's Marion Clignet, formerly of Bethesda, Md., for the women's individual pursuit gold medal.

Italy's Silvio Martinello won the gold medal in the men's points race, and Nathalie Even-Lancien won the women's inaugural points race after a 2{-hour rain delay, giving France its fifth gold medal, seventh overall.

Nothstein's silver was just the second medal in nine events for the Americans, who boasted before the Olympics that they had the world's best bicycles.

But the U.S. pursuit team and its sleek SuperBikes were ousted, along with Rebecca Twigg in the women's individual pursuit, last week. Those were two medals the U.S. team was counting on to go with the silver Erin Hartwell won in the 1-kilometer time trial.

Fiedler got the best of Nothstein in the match sprints, where two riders jockey for position for two of the three laps, trying to gain an advantage for the final sprint, about 200 meters from the finish.