Liam Phillips believes his time away from the sport of BMX has helped and not hindered his chances of making a second appearance at the Olympics this summer.
The 23-year-old Taunton rider spent six months training in the velodrome as a track cyclist during 2011 with the aim of trying to claim a spot as a starter in the team sprint trio alongside three-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy and world sprint champion Jason Kenny.
However, the move did not work out for Phillips and he returned to BMX training in October with a view of regaining his place inside the world’s top 10.
A former European champion and world silver medallist in BMX racing, Phillips has slipped seamlessly back into the sport and insists his time away has allowed him to regain his hunger ahead of London 2012.
“I was able to re-evaluate and learn to just enjoy BMX again. I raced for 17 years (in BMX) and I had never missed a season,” Phillips told British Cycling.
“I think that no matter how much you can enjoy things, you can get stale and that was probably the case although I didn’t know that at the time. I feel rejuvenated – that’s probably the best word to describe it.”
Phillips, who reached the quarter-finals of the Beijing 2008 Olympic competition at the age of just 19, is currently preparing for the UCI BMX World Championships on home soil in May.
The National Indoor Arena in Birmingham will stage the event and will offer British riders like Phillips and Shanaze Reade the chance to sample the sort of atmosphere that will greet them when the Olympic BMX competition starts on August 8.
“I think the worlds will be a massive indicator of who is going to be there or thereabouts at the Olympics,” added Phillips.
“It’s an opportunity to perform in the UK a couple of months before the Olympics and deal with a home crowd and everything else that goes with competing in the UK and that’s not really anything we’ve dealt with before. It should be great for us prior to the Olympics.”