Cycling: Strombergs too strong again in BMX

LONDON Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:22pm EDT

Latvia's Maris Strombergs competes in the men's BMX seeding run during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the BMX Track in the Olympic Park August 8, 2012. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Latvia's Maris Strombergs competes in the men's BMX seeding run during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the BMX Track in the Olympic Park August 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Cathal McNaughton

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LONDON (Reuters) - Latvia's Maris Strombergs remained the only men's BMX Olympic champion when he retained his title at the London Games on Friday.

Strombergs, who had failed to impress in the quarter and semi-finals, found his form to lead from the first bend to the finish line to beat Australian world champion and pre-race favorite Sam Willoughby.

Colombian Carlos Mario Oquendo Zabala claimed bronze.

Strombergs had won the first Olympic men's BMX title four years ago when the discipline was introduced in the Games in Beijing.

Strombergs had a great start and managed the first bend better than anyone else and kept his composure despite being under intense pressure from Willoughby.

Dutchman Raymon van der Biezen, who had clocked the best time in the seeding run and had won his three quarter-final runs as well as the first of three semi-final dashes, settled for fourth.

American Connor Fields was one of two riders who crashed and took seventh place ahead of home hope Liam Phillips.

Phillips had been in decent form since Friday but lost control in the penultimate bend while he seemed in contention for a podium finish.

France's Joris Daudet, who was among the favorites coming into the Games, crashed in the third run of the semi-finals and did not take part in the final run on the 450-metre track at the VeloPark.

Soccer's David Beckham and British double Olympic track cycling champion Victoria Pendleton were in the stands.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Mark Meadows)

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