Phillips: I don't envy Reade's position
May 24, 2012 17:09 pm
Liam Phillips, Britain's leading male BMX rider, struggles to consider how he would cope being in Shanaze Reade's position.
Reade enters this weekend's BMX World Championships at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham as the overwhelming favourite.
A fourth world title, at the age of 23, would only serve to heighten expectations placed on Reade for the London Olympics.
In the indiscriminate, cut and thrust world of BMX, with eight riders vying for position on an undulating track, success is far from guaranteed - as a 19-year-old Reade experienced at the Beijing Games when she crashed out in a gold medal-or-bust manoeuvre.
"I understand the pressures Shanaze is put under," Phillips told Press Association Sport. "It's fantastic she's brought a lot of attention to the sport.
"On the other hand, the sport is wide open and anything can happen on any given day, so for one athlete to have so much pressure on her - it is difficult."
Phillips, who this week will be bidding to make certain of his Olympic place, does not know whether he would attempt the same do-or-die move as Reade did should he be fortunate enough to be riding for a medal in London.
Getting there, indeed getting to the final at any BMX competition, is far from straightforward.
Phillips added: "It is cut throat. At a World Cup now you have 160 guys sign up to race and everybody does one seeded run and the top 64 go through to racing. The other 100 guys don't get to race.
"We're taking about a second and a half between first and 64th and that's over a 35-second lap."
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