Great Britain return to UCI BMX Supercross World Cup action as the series visits Papendal, Netherlands for the second round on 10-11 May 2014.
World champion Liam Phillips and Kyle Evans will race in the elite men’s category on the Olympic Training Centre’s outdoor track as part of a three-person squad, with Charlotte Green participating in the elite women’s racing.
All three reached the supercross finals at the National Cycling Centre with Phillips recording a time-trial and racing double for the second consecutive year.
The meeting is a final opportunity for riders to enhance their form ahead of Olympic qualification, which starts at June’s third round in Berlin.
“The team has grown up through the years all racing outdoors so that’s something they are more used to than riding indoor so I don’t think they’ll be any issues with that,” Olympic BMX coach Grant White said.
“Across the board I think they’ll all cope with it well. It’s good for us. Rio is outdoors which is what Papendal is as well as the rest of the world cups this year.
“It’s a chance for our guys to get up to speed with those things in 2014 and move towards Olympic qualification in a healthy position.”
Phillips will aim to defend the overall lead he earned in Manchester, topping the series standings with 225 points.
The 25-year-old has yet to win a world cup at an outdoor track and admits it is an area he is keen to improve on having been eliminated in the semi-finals on his last visit to Arnhem in 2013.
With BMX set to be an outdoor event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Phillips wants to use every opportunity to get competition practice at open-air venues.
“The Olympics are going to be outdoors on a big track. I really want to prove my worth on those big open tracks and to date haven’t been able to do that,” Phillips said.
“This season is going to be great for me personally to work on what I deem to be a weakness at the moment.”
Phillips added that he will go all-out in pursuit of the series title after taking third last year.
“I’m certainly working hard to retain my (world champion’s) jersey and I really want to win the world cup overall,” Phillips said.
Kyle Evans produced his best ever result in a UCI BMX Supercross World Cup race in Manchester, the 20-year-old finishing fifth.
Like Phillips, Evans progressed to the semi-finals at last year’s meeting but will benefit from skipping the qualifying motos this time around, instead competing in the time-trial superfinal on Saturday before joining the racing on Sunday.
“Kyle’s performance has been increasing and he is starting to mix it up with some of the very best in the world,” White said. “Ambitions-wise, he wants to keep delivering what he is capable of.
“Now he’s tasted a world cup final, I’m sure he’d love to be able to replicate that at further world cups. Papendal would be a nice start. Go and deliver 100% and we’ll see where that puts him.”
World time-trial champion Connor Fields is also on the start list as is Australia Anthony Dean, who impressed to finish second in Manchester.
The Netherlands field a large team including Jelle van Gorkom, winner of the 2013 Papendal meeting.
Nineteen-year-old Charlotte Green continued her impressive development with fourth place in round one.
The top-eight finish means Green goes straight through to Sunday’s quarter-finals. On Saturday she will join the remaining top-ranked riders for the time-trial superfinal.
Ahead of her fifth appearance on the world cup circuit, Green wants to take the confidence gained from her Manchester performance to the Olympic Training Centre.
“Going into Papendal I've got a good chance of staying in the top eight,” Green said. “So by the end of the supercross season hopefully I'll finish in a good position in the overall series.
“I guess the biggest thing to deal with is the wind and the weather but I believe it won’t affect me too much.
“I think you have got to just put that to one side and just carry on and deal with whatever you have got.”
Having only joined the Great Britain Olympic Academy full-time late last year, coach Grant White has been impressed with Green’s progress.
“Charlotte got first-hand experience that she’s a high level performer and this is a level that, when she goes out and delivers 100%, she is banging bars with some of the best in the world," White said.
“Charlotte did really well at Papendal last year. She goes there with a better package than last year, she goes there with experience of the track and bit of confidence from Manchester.”
World champion and round one winner Caroline Buchanan makes the trip to Europe after becoming Australian champion as Olympic gold medallist and defending world cup winner Mariana Pajon makes her first appearance at the series.
Fans will be able to watch the UCI BMX Supercross in Papendal on the British Cycling website.