Double BMX Olympic Champion Maris Strombergs has added the 2013 European title to his name less than two weeks out from the World Championships in New Zealand.
The final two rounds of the 12-strong European series were held in Dessel, Belgium on July 13 and 14.
Although absent in Belgium, the Latvian riderâs consistency throughout the series â seven wins and three second places â means he had no problem holding on to his overall lead.
âIt was great doing the series again,â said Strombergs. âAnd now I am looking forward to racing in New Zealand.â
Strombergs ousts fellow Latvian, the 2012 European Champion Edzus Treimanis, who finishes second overall this year. However, Treimanis completed his 2013 European campaign on a winning note with victory in the 12th round in Dessel. Franceâs Quentin Caleyron rounds off the 2013 Elite menâs European podium.
Elite Women: title goes to former Juniors World Champion
Overall victory in the Elite womenâs competition goes to former Juniors World Champion Manon Valentino (France). After being left out of the French team for the 2012 London Olympics, the young athlete had declared that despite her frustration she would âwork hard to be present in Rio 2016 because the Olympic Games are a dream for me.â
In the absence of Great Britainâs Shanaze Reade, who dominated the first two rounds but then withdrew due to injury, the 22-year-old French athlete demonstrated that she is in great shape, taking seven victories in the European Championships. Second overall is Olympic bronze medallist Laura Smulders (the Netherlands), with former World Cycling Centre trainee Vilma Rimsaite (Lithuania) completing the European podium. At 30 years of age, the delighted Lithuanian athlete posted on Twitter, âTook ten years to get it... Wohoo!!.â
All the Elite European medallists are on the entry list for the UCI BMX World Championships, which get under way in Auckland, New Zealand, on July 24th.
In the Junior Menâs category of the European Championships, overall victory went to Amidou Mir (France).Tore Navrestad (Norway) and Niek Kimmann (the Netherlands) complete the podium. Germanyâs Sarah Sailer is Junior Womenâs European Champion, taking the title in front of two French athletes Mathilde Doudoux and Melanie Grun.
The 2013 European Championships spanned more than three months, kicking off in Messigny-et-Vantoux on April 6 and 7, then moving to the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden and Latvia before the finals in Belgium at the weekend.
Photo: Two-time Olympic Champion Maris Strombergs, pictured here in action at the 2012 London Olympics, has added the European title to his list of achievements.