Published: 4 April 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Video: Eddie Allen/Simon Powers
British Cycling Olympic BMX coach Grant White says that splitting the Great Britain squad between the UEC BMX European Series opening rounds and the team’s training base will allow every rider to maximise their development ahead of the UCI Supercross in Manchester.
Five riders have been selected to travel to Messigny and Vantoux in Dijon, France for the first and second rounds of the event this weekend, which come two weeks after the first instalment of the British BMX Series and follow an impressive outing in Caen from Great Britain’s athletes in February.
The rest of the team will remain at the state-of-the-art National BMX Centre with the opening round of the 2013 UCI BMX Supercross visiting the indoor track from the 19-20 April.
And White explained that the approach being taken is tailored to suit each rider’s individual needs for the campaign ahead.
“The upcoming Euro round which is two weeks after our last race we had here, and two weeks before the world cup, it’s a good opportunity to get some international competition,” White said.
“We’re splitting our squad as to who’s going and who’s not going because it’s not the only thing the riders need to do. Sometimes you can sacrifice some of your development work that you need to be doing which is at home by travelling away and going to a competition.
“You need to be at a decent level and a good standard to capitalise on the race experience so a couple of the Academy guys that have been performing a little better than the others are going to France because the race experience, that’s an important aspect.
“The other guys have got a bit more homework to be done so the others will stay home and continue to work hard and look for those extra bits of progression for the supercross world cup.”
Two-time Olympic champion Maris Strombergs (Lithuania) has been included on the provisional start list in the elite men’s category with 2012 BMX world championship silver and bronze medallists Eva Ailloud (France) and Romana Labounkova (Czech Republic) set to start in the elite women’s discipline.
Three-time world champion Shanaze Reade will be hoping to continue the form which saw her win at the British BMX Series first round and anticipates the usual challenges the European competition has to offer.
“I think in the European circuit it changes from year to year really. Sometimes America is the place to be, everyone has gone to the States and then you looked at the world champion Magalie Pottier who came from France, myself, Laëtitia Le Corguillé and even Anne-Caroline Chausson when she won [the Olympic women’s BMX race] in 2008 - Europe was the place it was at.
“It’s kind of changed slightly, Caroline Buchanan (UCI Supercross overall winner 2012) is racing there [in the USA], Mariana Pajon (London Olympic gold medallist) has gone to the States so there’s a good pocket of girls there but at the same time Europe has got equally fast riders, it changes slightly year to year.”