By Steve Medcroft, MTB Editor
With only one more complete season of competition before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the riders that will be contenders in the cross country race are becoming apparent. One of the shiniest stars in the bunch is Great Britain's Liam Killeen, a rider that has shown natural ability and the kind of year-to-year growth that could put him firmly in the medal hunt:
The rise of Liam Killeen is not sudden, he was an under-23 superstar and won the under-23 World Cup. He was also runner-up in the 2004 under-23 World Championships. But when an under-23 rider finally makes it into the elite ranks, there is usually a slip back in results while they adjust to the intense pace of the upper ranks. But Killeen, in only his second year in the elite category, seems to have mixed together a formula that includes physical and mental training, solid equipment, loyal teammates.
He showed the results of that formula when he won the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia in March. He followed it up with a solo win at the Sea Otter Classic, two full minutes ahead of world-class riders including teammate Alban Lakata and European champion Jean Christoph Peraud (Orbea).
It didn't stop there. He finished third in his first World cup, just behind 2004 Olympic gold medallist and world champion Julien Absalon and Curacao course designer Bart Brentjens (Giant). He also came second in the world cup at Mont Sainte Anne and, most recently, placed tenth at the world championships in Rotorua, New Zealand. He's even taken the time to win a couple of hometown races.
Read the entire Liam Killeen interview here.