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GLASGOW, Aug 11 (Reuters) - Dutch world champion Laura Smulders retained her cycling BMX title with a consummate display at the European Championships on Saturday while Kyle Evans had the home fans cheering by leading home an unexpected British one-two in the men’s race.
The 24-year-old Smulders was again in a class of her own, leading from start to finish on the purpose-built Knightswood Park BMX Centre course to successful defend the crown she won in Bordeaux.
Her only moment of concern in the final was when she showed a little caution just before the final bend, allowing Denmark’s Simone Tetsche Christensen to nearly get on terms but she accelerated again 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 altogether 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.”
French men’s world champion Sylvain Andre did suffer that indignity, though, as he had to settle for bronze behind the British pair of Evans and Kye Whyte.
Evans, a 24-year-old from Wigan who finished sixth behind Andre in Baku, was surprised by his win. Yet after enjoying a fine start, his breakthrough international title never looked in doubt as he won convincingly in 34.715.
The performance of his exciting 18-year-old London colleague Whyte really caught the eye 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.” (Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond)