Phillips ready as BMX history beckons in Rotterdam

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Great Britain’s Liam Phillips is focused on a second consecutive BMX world title in Rotterdam.

The 25-year-old will attempt to defend his rainbow jersey on 26-27 July at the Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam.

Only one rider, American Kyle Bennett, has won back-to-back elite men’s titles in the modern history of the, in 2002 and 2003.

And Phillips, who won in Auckland last year, is aspiring to add his name to that exclusive list.

“I've loved wearing the rainbow jersey over the last 12 months and so to go back to Rotterdam and try and defend that title is going to be an absolute honour,” Phillips said.

“I'm excited and really looking forward to going there and racing, and ultimately go there and try and win the rainbow jersey.

“I didn't think I could want to wear that rainbow jersey more than last year in Auckland and I think that by having that jersey on my back has been validation for me as an athlete and an individual.

“For me that fire burns brighter than it did 12 months ago and certainly something I want to replicate. There hasn't been an athlete in the last decade who has been to defend their world title so for me to be able to go out there and do that would be an absolute honour.”

Phillips also feels he has a point to prove to the BMX world after his 2013 success. A number of high profile names, including Olympic gold medallist Maris Strombergs and time-trial world champion Connor Fields, fell before the final as Phillips won every race

“At last year's worlds there were a few big names that didn't actually make it to the final and I think that although you've got to make it to that last race and you've got to go out and win, in BMX terms there was a few sceptics who didn't feel like I was deserved of that world title,” Phillips said

“So for me there'd be nothing greater than to win that title with the best guys in the world.”

Asked whether a successful defence would place him as one of BMX’s greatest riders, Phillips added: “It's not for me to say whether that validates my place in this sport or not, ultimately I'm here to win as many races as I can and enjoy this road to Rio.”

A poor start at the most recent round of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Berlin in June saw Phillips exit at the quarter-final stage.

He held his lead at the top of the five-race series but has not competed since, preferring to focus on training at Great Britain’s base at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

“Training over the last few weeks has been really good,” said Phillips.

“I haven't raced since the Berlin World Cup, I decided to focus on getting some work done and try and get ready for the world champs and it's been a really wise decision I feel.

“It has allowed me to get some good training done and ultimately prepare me for what ultimately is the biggest race of the season.

I've done the work required to go there and perform the best I can and I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. Training's been nothing but enjoyable, I'm ready to race.”

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