Julien Absalon will be preparing for the Rio 2016 Olympics with the memories of London 2012 still haunting him.

Three and a half years after his puncture at Hadleigh Farm, Absalon told CNN that the race was the “worst moment of [his] career”. Absalon had won gold at the previous two Olympic games and was among the favourites for London but had to retire on the first lap. He said: “I was really focused on it after Athens and after Beijing — two victories in a row. But I had no chance to defend my title because I had a flat tire immediately after the start.”

Absalon will go into the Rio Olympics, which happen just a few days after his 36th birthday, knowing that it will be his last as he announced his retirement from the sport last year. He said: “It will be the last challenge of my career, I will stop after that, so the goal is to have a third gold medal.”

Absalon finished second in both the World Championships and World Cup series last year behind the dominant Nino Schurter but as he is regarded as one of the greatest mountain bikers ever then it would be foolish to write off his chances of a third gold medal.

For the full CNN interview with Absalon (it’s a good one) click here.