Kiwi BMX rider Rico Bearman, the best under-23 world series rider, now has his sights set on the Paris Olympics after a stunning display in the final round of the UCI World Cup in Santiago del Estero in Argentina.
The 20-year-old from North Harbour wrapped up the under-23 World Cup title after winning round nine yesterday, but returned with an even more impressive display to scorch his opponents to claim the final round victory.
Bearman blitzed the final for his sixth victory from nine finals this year, finishing 332 points ahead of runner-up Mateo Colsenet (FRA) and 589 ahead of third placed Thomas Maturano (ARG)
"I wanted to go out on a note and show everyone why I am the overall winner, to ride like I can ride, and to show my class," said Bearman.
"Like everyone, it has taken really hard work, dedication and consistency which is the big thing to win the overall title.
"Now I want to step up and compete with the big boys in the elites. The under-23 is a stepping stone. I am really happy with my year but now ready to move up and try to make a show out there."
He will now prepare for his likely debut in the elite ranks when Rotorua hosts the first double header UCI BMX Racing World Cup in February, doubling as an Olympic qualifying event.
In other racing, Rotorua's Megan Williams finsihed fourth in the semifinal in the under-23 women to qualify for her second straight final where she finished sixth.
Williams, the world championship bronze medallist, has climbed to eighth overall in her first full season on the world cup circuit.
Earlier Cambridge rider Leila Walker made it through to the quarterfinals, but finished one spot out of making the semifinals after she was slow out of the gate.
Fellow Cambridge clubmates, brothers Bennett and Jack Greenough, both qualified in the under-23 men, with Bennett impressive in winning his first round and quarterfinal, but was taken out in a heavy crash in the semifinal. Jack Greenough went out earlier in the quarterfinal.
In elite men, North Harbour's Michael Bias qualified through the Last Chance heat and was strong in placing third in his one-eighth round, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals.