Liam Phillips has shifted his focus firmly on a BMX spot for next year’s Olympics after returning to the discipline following his stint on the track.
Phillips: 'BMX is where my heart lies'
Phillips joined the track sprint programme in April after a series of injuries on the BMX circuit, targeting the man one spot in the team sprint. He most recently competed in the National Track Championships, finishing third in the team sprint alongside Phillip Hindes and Kian Emadi.
But whilst he valued the experience and carries no regrets about his time in the velodrome, his passion for BMX was the overriding factor and now Phillips is keen to make up for lost time.
“I hope I make the team, nothing is 100% certain in BMX but my goals and objectives are focused on not gaining selection but to put myself in contention to win a medal, so along as I strive towards that the selection process should take care of itself,” Phillips said.
“Back in February I got injured again and I've had so many injuries over the last few years and I got so fed up with them, it seemed I was taking one step forward and two steps back. My managers raised concerns with the injuries and suggested I may like to try out the velodrome with the view to go for position one in the team sprint. Of course there was no way I was going to miss an opportunity like that and I've loved every minute of it.
“I believe 110% the decision to race the track was the right decision and now I believe 110% to go back to BMX is the right decision. BMX is where my heart lies and that’s where the passion is so I'm ready to go back there.”
The 22 year-old has almost become a stranger to the BMX track in recent months and after a period of rest is ready for a much heavier training load to quickly get back to his previous performance levels. Despite only having a taste of the new £24m National BMX Centre, he believes Manchester has gained a world class facility.
“I've had a little bit of down time since the track and I've only been on the BMX track five times recently, in fact I've just had three hours riding at the new indoor track,” Phillips confessed.
“I'm still getting up to speed on the BMX bike, I’m still in holiday mode and enjoying riding my bike but I'm really looking forward to next week when I officially start the real training and making some real headway with the training.
“What a facility [the National BMX Centre is] for BMX and having it in Manchester is really fantastic. You always have it in your head that these facilities are anywhere in the world but here but it’s unbelievable. I think its shows the level of commitment that everyone involved with BMX and the sport in general will continue to back cycling. The team had a great showing in Beijing and its good we are receiving that continual push to progress, but aside from the team it’s giving so many people the chance to have a go.
“I would love to stand here in ten years time and say look at him or her, they started at the indoor track, rode BMX for five or six years then become world champion or gone onto to ride another cycling event and become a champion in that. Just look at what Mark Cavandish, Cadel Evans and Sir Chris Hoy have achieved and they began their cycling careers on a BMX bike.”