Rio Olympic qualification battle excites Whyte

Rio Olympic qualification battle excites Whyte

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Great Britain’s Tre Whyte says he is prepared as the journey to Rio intensifies with the start of Olympic Games qualification for BMX.

Whyte travels to the UEC European BMX League this weekend as part of a four-strong team that will aim to earn Great Britain’s first points towards the 2016 Games in Brazil.

“I’m not going to think about it (qualifying for Rio), at the end of the day it’s still the same race,” Whyte said.

“You are going to try your best whether it is a normal European meeting or Olympic qualification. You’ve just got to focus on the process and the way you ride.

“Hopefully we’ll all be in good places for the races coming up and qualify as many points as possible.”

Although Whyte will try and avoid contemplating the huge incentive on offer, he accepts that events will now take on extra significance.

“It’s always been geared to the Olympics but now it’s qualification everything counts for the Olympics,” Whyte said.

“It does feel a bit weird, it makes things feel more important.”

The 20-year-old from Peckham, part of British Cycling’s Olympic Academy Programme, says that the potential of pulling on the Team GB jersey in South America does cross his mind occasionally.

In particular, Whyte uses the prospect of riding on the sport’s biggest stage in difficult periods.

“I wouldn’t say every day I’m thinking about it,” Whyte said. “There are times you do think what could happen, what you’d like to happen.

“When you’re in a bad place, like training is hard or something, I think that’s what helps me, aiming for Rio, it motivates me.”

Nations can earn a maximum of three places in the men’s BMX event via the UCI Olympic qualification rankings, which run from 31 May 2014 until 30 May 2016.

With world champion Liam Phillips, Kyle Evans and Curtis Manaton among the Great Britain ranks, Whyte admits that competition for spots will be intense.

“This is what everyone wants, you want that space yourself,” Whyte said.

“As a team we are going to be getting that space but you want to be a part of it. If you are on the cusp it will be a bit more intense throughout the team.”

Whyte exited in the quarter-finals at the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester and hopes a strong run of performances in upcoming races can earn him a spot at July’s world championships in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

“My performance against myself was good - my times - but I didn’t race as well as I would have liked to,” Whyte said of his display in Manchester.

“I wanted to get back on the circuit. I can’t wait to get back on to it, I’ve done a bit more training.

“Hopefully I’ll be in a good place, performing well and get selected for the worlds. I really want to get selected and go there and make a name for myself.”