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Great Britain's team sprint looks to BMX talent

By:
Cycling News
Published:
May 05, 2011, 3:48 BST,
Updated:
May 05, 2011, 4:57 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Race:
2012 Olympic Games
Great Britain rode against Australia for the bronze medal

Great Britain rode against Australia for the bronze medal

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Phillips hoping to emulate Staff at London 2012

BMX rider Liam Phillips could follow the path set by Jamie Staff and represent Great Britain on the track at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Twenty-two-year-old Phillips has joined the team in London in the hope of being selected in the team sprint, and fill the gap left by Staff in his retirement. Great Britain claimed bronze in the event at this year's track world championship with a team of Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Matthew Crampton, behind France and Germany.

It's thought that Phillips has the potential to be Great Britain's next man one for the team sprint, given his skills from a standing start in BMX. The prospect of an Olympic medal aside, there is another catalyst for Phillips switch to the track.

"I was sick to death of BMX injuries and knew if there was another route to the Olympics, I'd be stupid not to take it," Phillips, told BBC Sport.

"I have eight months to show I'm at a level where I can make the team."

The Somerset man has raced BMX for 17 years, however he hasn't raced a full season in the last four due to injury. Following his most-recent surgery on his wrist and elbow, the offer to test himself on the track was too good to refuse.

"I can only see this being a positive opportunity. It's a chance to train full-time around some of the best cycling athletes in the world, and I can still compete at a good level without the same injury risk."

Just over a year remains until the Olympics and Phillips has eight months to see if he can match it with the likes of Frenchman Gregory Bauge and ride a 17.3 opening lap.

"If the track doesn't work out I've got seven months to get back into shape for the BMX,” Phillips explained. As host nation, Great Britain is guaranteed a place in all sports so Phillips does not need to commit to qualification races.

"But hopefully I'll get to a level where I can make the track team, then get selected for the 2012 World Championships and the Olympics."

 

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