By Shane Stokes in Manchester
Along with Victoria Pendleton, Shanaze Reade took a world record on day two of the world track championships and also defended the gold medal they first won in the team sprint last year. However, the 19 year-old has reiterated that BMX will be her sole focus at the upcoming Olympic Games.
Reade took three World, eight European and five British BMX championships at junior level and last season won her first gold medal in the senior BMX Worlds. She fits in track cycling around the BMX season and has shown outstanding promise despite this limited velodrome time.
"For now, BMX will definitely be my main focus for 2008," she stated, while also floating the possibility that a change in direction might be possible after that. "I just take every week as it comes and see where it takes me. I would like to be able to do a little bit more than six weeks on the track each year. Maybe in the future I could become a track cyclist, but only time will tell."
Reade and Pendleton recorded a time of 33"186 in the qualifiers, well ahead of China's 33"943. That was particularly satisfying for her. "I am just speechless to break the world record with such an amazing athlete such as Victoria," she stated. "It is a massive achievement from me to come here and win, and also to get a personal best in my own lap as well. It is unbelievable."
Reade also drew encouragement from her performance in the 500 metre time trial, even if she wasn't in the running for medals. "I looked at the splits for the 500 last night and I think I was either winning or second for a lap and a half. That is a massive achievement to me. I got seventh overall, which was slightly slower than last year, but then I went out with a faster lap.
"Today I went out at world record time for the lap. For me, the priority is all about the team sprint and if Victoria doesn't do the 500, then I step in. When I step into her shoes I try to do us proud. I have had a fantastic Worlds and a greater experience than I did in Majorca."