Team GB Exclusive: Determined Phillips wants world title
Exclusive

Team GB Exclusive: Determined Phillips wants world title

24 April 2015 / 13:50

BMX racing is a sport with a language of its own - a sport where being sick is positively encouraged and falling victim to a dead sailor is even worse than it sounds.

Liam Phillips certainly knows that life on the BMX circuit is a rollercoaster in more ways than one - which is perhaps why he now likes to relax by playing golf.

Phillips started racing as a five-year old, inspired by his parents who were both involved in the sport.

His career since has been punctuated by injuries and medals - a broken collarbone meant he arrived at the 2012 Olympics after less than ideal preparation - but one year later he claimed his first-ever world title.

Phillips attempted to follow the path travelled by Olympic champion Jamie Staff and move from BMX to track cycling but missed the thrill of his first love too much.

Last year he became the first British rider to win the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup title, but was left devastated after being taken out by France's Damien Godet in the defence of his rainbow jersey.

"I can’t really express how disappointed I was at the last World Championships," Phillips, who won the first round of the World Cup in Manchester last weekend, told TeamGB.com.

"I was in fantastic shape going into it, I knew that I would have been up there competing if I’d had the chance. But as is the way with BMX, someone else can very easily ruin your ride before it’s even begun. It’s the way it goes, but I definitely want to go back and take the title this year. We’ve got the World Cups and then it will be the Worlds and then it's a small matter of the Olympics.

"But it’s also about showing I don’t have to be leading from the front and that I can still come through and win. It’s about working on different parts of my racing, I can still improve. Last weekend I raced a number of personal bests, so it shows I can still go faster."

Phillips is certainly still buzzing from his dominant weekend performance, especially after a close season that was hit by injuries.

Next month he'll compete in the second round of the World Cup in the Netherlands but it's regaining his world title in Belgium in July that remains the prime focus in 2015.

"It was strange in the off season as I am normally a low maintenance type of athlete, I just get on with my training," he added.

"So coming into Manchester I was not really sure how I would fare. I can really take a lot of confidence from it. Regardless of the injury too, just to be able to deliver a performance of that magnitude at that level was a big achievement.

"I keep rewatching the weekend’s race over and over. It’s not that you take it for granted when you are riding right in the middle of it, but you don’t always realise what level of performance it is. I was very happy with the way I rode. I did not think I would be able to perform at that level over the weekend, it was very special.

"It has taken me by surprise. I was under so much pressure, on my home track, looking to win for a  third year in a row.

"It’s great to get an early victory in the bag but I have several goals for this season, it’s not just about the wins. It’s about becoming more robust and versatile."

By Pippa Field, Sportsbeat

© Sportsbeat 2015

Liam Phillips