MUNICH -- American rider Maria Forsberg, a two-time X Games Enduro X champion, returned to the top spot in the Women's Enduro X finals on Sunday at X Games Munich.
Spanish rider Laia Sanz had dominated the first two Women's Enduro X races this year, in Brazil and Spain, bumping Forsberg into unfamiliar second place territory after a long run at the top.
But Sanz struggled on Sunday at X Games Munich, getting stuck on the course several times as Forsberg stayed out in front of her. Forsberg had struggles of her own, getting off to a slow start until the third of six laps.
"You've just got to stay mentally strong and you can't let a little crash or hang up get to you," Forsberg said. "That goes for the race today and for this whole season: Enduro X is mostly about perseverance and just sticking through the tough times."
Forsberg said that coming into this week's race her goal was just to get a little bit closer to Sanz; beating her was an unexpected bonus.
"Laia is my hero and the toughest competitor I've ever come across," Forsberg said. "It's an honor to race with her, let alone beat her. And it's cool to get the win here in the Olympic Stadium on the toughest course we've had yet."
Sanz fought through all six laps, nearly catching Forsberg toward the end, but she got stuck each time as she prepared to overtake her. The two riders will go head to head again at X Games Los Angeles in August.
"Maria's very consistent and doesn't make many mistakes, and on a course like this it's very important: Once I got stuck, it was impossible to catch her," Sanz said. "She's been a very strong competitor at all three of these events I've competed in, and Los Angeles is going to be a big rematch for sure."