Cullen storms to European title as Martin and Featherstone celebrate BMX podiums

Cullen storms to European title as Martin and Featherstone celebrate BMX podiums

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Ross Cullen is the new European Junior BMX champion on a day that saw three British riders reach the podium in Latvia.

Cullen stormed to the continental title with a series of eye-catching performances, none more so than in the main event in which he secured the European jersey.

He was followed onto the podium by a familiar face in Ryan Martin, coming home second while Ellie Featherstone also enjoyed success after finishing third in the women’s junior competition.

Kyle Evans, defending European champion heading into the event, was in striking distance of another place on the podium with three Brits in action in the men’s elite final.

There was also British interest in the women’s elite competition with Bethany Shriever taking to the start line, agonisingly missing out on a place in the main event.

Cullen leads from the front as Martin bags a superb silver

Cullen has proven himself to be above his years with a number of impressive performances across the World Cup season.

And he took that experience with him to great effect, leading out his 1/4 final and not letting the advantage slip as he went to within one race of the final.

Once again the front of the pack was where he found himself on the first corner, taking his place in the main event in style in Latvia.

He wasn’t alone in impressing in the junior ranks, Martin putting in back-to-back second-places in his elimination races, gaining in confidence as the day went on.

That took the pair all the way to the medal run and they weren’t in any mood to stop there, both of them powering to the front of the group from the early stages.

It proved an important and emphatic move, Cullen crossing the line first to be crowned European champion with teammate and compatriot Martin earning a deserved second place.

Featherstone fights her way to European silver

While those two led from the get-go, Featherstone had quite the battle on her hands. But she conquered it supremely to leave with European bronze in her luggage.

Having eased through her 1/2 final in second place, the main event was to be a different challenge altogether in a field stacked with talent.

But the Brit proved herself to be more than up to the task, enjoying a quick start to head into the second straight in third position.

From there the field closed up with jostling for positions plentiful, but it was Featherstone who held her own to take a hard-earned third place behind Swiss winner Zoe Claessens.

British elite riders fall narrowly short

Meanwhile the men’s elite final was packed with Brits, as Evans, Kye Whyte and Paddy Sharrock all took their places in the starting gate.

With the continent’s best alongside them it was always going to be a tough task, largely thanks to Evans’ European champion status that he had earned in Glasgow last year.

And the podium proved narrowly out of reach for the trio, Whyte finishing as the best Brit in fourth place, one spot ahead of the impressive Sharrock while Evans came home in seventh.

Quillan Isidore was unfortunate to miss out in the 1/4 race in a line-up that featured two of his Great Britain Cycling Team colleagues in a stacked field.

The women’s elite races saw Shriever miss out on the final by just inches, crossing the line in fifth place in her 1/2 final.

Earlier performances had put her in a strong position but a close finish on the line saw her time in Latvia come to end with Laura Smulders eventually reigning supreme for the fourth time.