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Flying Finn: Arttu Pihlainen's career in pictures

Quebec City - March 16, 2013: Saturday’s final Ice Cross Downhill World Championship race of the season marked the farewell appearance of one of his sport’s top athletes, as former champion Arttu Pihlainen, 31, hung up his skates following a third successive win on the Quebec City track. We look back on some of the best moments from an action-packed career...

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Quebec City - January 2008: Injury and lack of training time scuppered the 31-year-old’s hopes of making a bigger impact in 2012/13 but typically he returned in style to win the final race in Quebec City – the same venue where he won in his debut race in January 2008.

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Valkenburg - February 5, 2011: The champion in 2011, Arttu won a total of seven races - a joint record which he holds with ice cross downhill legend Jasper Felder.

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For Arttu it was a case of 'Go Hard or Go Home'. “It's been really hard for me to find the time to train. That’s the reason why I’m quitting," said Pihlainen, a sports teacher in his native Jyvaskyla, in Finland.

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Quebec City - March 19, 2011: To 'flying' you can also add 'unflappable' as monikers which describe Arttu's particularly graceful style, with the Finn keeping his cool - and his feet - when it mattered most.

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The 31-year-old's career highlight was winning the first-ever four-stop Ice Cross Downhill World Championship following the competition's expansion in 2011.

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Valkenburg - February 4, 2012: Wearing the gold jersey for the 2012 season, Arttu was again on top form...

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Saint Paul - January 14, 2012: ... and had occasion to share a drink with skating rival Kyle Croxall!

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Are - February 18, 2012: Pihlainen was a step ahead of virtually everyone again in 2012 and narrowly missed out on claiming back-to-back world championship titles, with his 2,960 points just 40 short of the Canadian, Kyle Croxall.

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Niagara Falls - November 30, 2012: It certainly wasn't smooth riding all the way. An injury sustained in the first race of the 2012/13 season at Niagara Falls meant he missed the first stop as well as the subsequent race, effectively ending his hopes of winning another championship.

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Quebec City - March 16, 2013: He returned in triumphant fashion for the final race of the 2012/13 season to bring the curtain down on a brilliant six-year career in ice cross downhill. Asked for the best moment, Arttu said: "The first one here in 2008 and then this one. The beginning and the end."

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Sporting director Christian Papillon presented 'R2D2' with a guitar as a going-away present after he hung up his skates in Quebec.

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