Laura Smulders retains BMX Euro crown

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London 2012 bronze medallist Laura Smulders successfully defended her BMX continental crown after a superlative display at the European Championships.

Meanwhile Kyle Evans led a surprise British one-two in an exhilarating finish to the men’s race, delighting home fans.

Laura Smulders is different class

Dutch world champion Smulders was a class apart.

She led from start to finish on the purpose-built Knightswood Park BMX Centre course to retain the throne she took in Bordeaux.

The 24-year-old showed strong form in the qualifying heats and kept up the pace in the final.

Smulders almost allowed Denmark’s Simone Tetsche Christensen back into the race but accelerated away to win in 38.700 seconds to the Dane’s 38.965.

Russian Yaroslava Bondarenko took bronze in 40.067.

The only disappointment for Smulders was that her sister Merel just missed out on the podium, finishing fourth in 40.465.

“I put it all together in the final,” said a delighted Smulders, wearing the world champion’s rainbow jersey she won in Baku, Azerbaijan, in June.

“I felt more pressure with the rainbow jersey on. When you’re world champion, you don’t want to lose.”

Check out how Laura won Olympic bronze at London 2012 here:

World champ stunned by British uprising

French men’s world champion Sylvain Andre was feeling the weight of the world champion rainbow jersey, however, and he had to be settle for third place behind the British pair of Kyle Evans and Kye Whyte.

24-year-old Wigan-born Evans, who represented Great Britain at Rio 2016, finished sixth behind Andre in Baku, but upset the odds in Glasgow to better the world champ.

A strong start set the British rider up for his breakthrough international title, he powered home in 34.715 in the performance of a lifetime.

Evans’ 18-year-old London teammate Whyte proved he’s one to watch for the future as he stormed past Andre and chased his team mate to the line in 35.372.

“I know what Kye can do on the track and he’s the last person you want behind you,” Evans said.

“So the whole time, I was thinking ‘keep driving speed’ otherwise he’ll come up and snap it off me. He’s a good talent on the rise.

Kyle Evans and Kye White European Championships 2018
British BMX riders Kyle Evans (right) and Kye Whyte celebrate their 1-2 finish after the Men’s BMX Final at the European Championships Glasgow 2018 (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
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Author: Ken Browne
Ken Browne is a multimedia journalist for the Olympic Channel.