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Road To 2016
Abbie Taylor and Kyle Evans impress in Caen

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British Cycling’s BMX Olympic Performance Programme have started the race phase of their preparations for the opening round of the world cup, to be held in Manchester in April.

Competing in Caen, head coach Grant White lead a squad of ten athletes who had worked hard over the off-season toward the goal of being competitive for the start of the world cup series.

And that ambition looks on track, as British Cycling Olympic Academy athlete Abbie Taylor returned to action with her first win in senior international competition on day two – a ride which White described as “a further sign that Abbie’s performance level is continuing to improve, step by step.”

That result followed Taylor’s first world cup podium in September 2012 and there were further encouraging finishes across the weekend.

Watch Abbie Taylor's win at 17 minutes:

Olympic Development Programme athlete Charlotte Green joined Taylor in Saturday’s final and finished fourth in her first senior international appearance.

Double Olympian Shanaze Reade was riding strongly in the same race, but crashed on turn one while leading the final and withdrew from the second day of competition as a result.

The best men’s result came from British Cycling Olympic Academy athlete Kyle Evans who, returning from a fractured scaphoid sustained in December, made Sunday’s final.

It was his first senior final appearance in Europe and despite crashing in the first corner while equal first, pleased White with a strong performance.

Summarising the two days of competition, White was in confident mood and highlighted the effect the new indoor supercross track and formation of the Olympic Academy in 2011 had on performances.

“The Academy set-up is providing the athletes with a system and a structure that allows them to constantly develop and improve. Of course it requires a lot of hard work from the individual athletes, but the system is there for them to succeed.

“Now, the challenge is to continue the progression so we can achieve the goals we have set for Rio 2016; to have more athletes scoring more UCI points and ultimately qualifying a maximum number of places for the Olympic Games.

“In line with that goal, the team returns to training, before the UCI and British BMX Series in Manchester on March 23-24. We’re anticipating that the squad will be at full strength for this race, with Liam Phillips and Tre Whyte making their return.”