- Id: 56108
DAUDET (FRA) dominates final to secure men's BMX gold
- VAN GENDT (NED) caps his "very good week" with silver, GRAF (SUI) takes bronze
- Triple-pronged Latvian challenge falls at semifinal stage
Joris DAUDET (FRA) cemented his status as the best BMX rider in Baku by taking gold in the men's final at the BMX Velopark on Sunday.
The world-ranked No4 led from the first bend and crossed the line in a time of 33.012 seconds, several bike lengths clear of Twan VAN GENDT (NED) in silver and David GRAF (SUI) in bronze.
Despite dominating both days of the BMX competition, DAUDET said his final win was not as straightforward as it looked.
"It wasn't easy at all. I had a decent gate but it definitely wasn't my best start," said the 24-year-old, who went under 34 seconds for all six of his races at Baku 2015.
"I had to go through the first corner inside but that worked for me today. I don't know exactly how I created this gap (but) I kept myself focused and I didn't make any mistake on the track, I was just riding good," DAUDET added.
All three French riders qualified for the final, though VAN GENDT stole a march on favourite DAUDET to win the first semifinal earlier on Sunday and Jelle VAN GORKOM (NED) separated Amidou MIR (FRA) and Sylvain ANDRE (FRA) in the second. In the final, MIR could only place 4th and ANDRE 6th.
"I had a very good week, won everything," said VAN GENDT of his rivalry with DAUDET afterwards. "Before this week I was in Salt Lake City and there I saw that Joris was the fastest. He was fast here, too, but when I got him in the semis I thought s***, it's really tight between the two of us."
The BMX competition enjoyed calm conditions on Sunday after strong winds earlier in the week had prompted a schedule change, with Saturday's motos rolled into Friday.
DAUDET was fastest through the first qualification run on Friday, but finished fourth behind TREIMANIS, GRAF and MIR in the super final, which settled the seedings for the best-of-three motos. VAN GENDT, MIR and DAUDET then posted the only perfect records in the heats.
The highest profile casualty of the semifinals was world No10 Edzus TREIMANIS (LAT), who finished fifth in heat 2 and missed qualification by one tenth of a second.
His compatriot Rihards VEIDE fared even worse, crashing on the penultimate straight in heat 1 and crossing the line 38 seconds behind the winner.
"I was battling for fourth spot and I came too close to the Swiss guy," VEIDE told the Games News Service. "I was hit by his bar and the my bar went to one side and I Iost balance and I crashed. It wasn't pretty hard but it was the end of the race."
There was triple misery for Latvia as 18-year-old Kristens KRIGERS finished last in his semifinal, meaning the home country of double Olympic champion Maris STROMBERGS (LAT) was without a rider in the final of Baku 2015.