Published: 24 July 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Video: Simon Powers
British Cycling Olympic BMX coach Grant White believes Liam Phillips can carry the lessons from his UCI BMX Supercross campaign into the world championships in Auckland.
Grant White: Liam Phillips can take lessons into world championships
Two-time Olympian Phillips will target a first ever world title in New Zealand in the elite men’s contest which begins on Saturday.
The 24-year-old won April’s opening round of the Supercross series at Great Britain’s training base in Manchester before crashing out in the quarter final in round two at Santiago del Estero.
A semi-final exit last month at Papendal followed despite Phillips easing through the moto qualifying stages though White feels the varying experiences have proved valuable in preparation for the season’s showpiece event.
“He has learned some good pieces of information which he can then use going into the world championships so from a racing side of things it’s gone quite well,” White said.
“Couple that with his current physical state and I think it’s a good package to go to the worlds with.”
In the Vector Arena Phillips will aim to exceed the silver he took in the time trial last year as well as contest the medals in the racing. In 2012, a heavy fall in the opening moto race ended his hopes of a rainbow jersey and left him with a fractured collarbone.
“I guess sometimes that’s BMX racing,” White added on the facet of fortune in the sport. “Manchester went really well, he learnt quite a bit from Argentina and went to Papendal and OK, he went out in the semi-final but as three Supercross events there are some positives in there.”
Phillips will be joined by British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme rider Kyle Evans in the elite men’s competition.
The 19-year-old has impressed in 2013, reaching the semi-finals in both Manchester and Papendal to earn his selection. White has been elated with the youngster’s progression and predicts Evans will only get stronger with time and experience.
Grant White: Evans getting stronger and stronger
“We want to see the maximum he is capable of, there is a lot that goes into that on the race day,” White said on his expectations for Evans.
“But I think that Kyle is one of those riders who have shown that consistently this year, whether that has been an outdoor European event or an indoor or an outdoor world cup.
“He’s going from strength to strength, so he keeps getting better and that’s probably going to happen as he matures.
“If he delivers what he is capable of then regardless of the end result he’s been successful. If he delivers that like he did in Papendal he’s got a good chance of being right up there at the pointy end.”
Auckland’s Vector Arena has been converted to an indoor BMX track which White insists will be the gain of Great Britain’s riders who since 2011 have trained at the National BMX Centre, sheltered from the elements.
“It is different from an indoor to an outdoor track so we’ve seen that at the previous indoor races in Norway and the 2012 world championships (in Birmingham),” White said.
“As well as the track being indoor it’s going to be a bit tighter, something that we train on very often so there are quite a few things in our training environment that are going to play in our favour at the world championships.”