Published: 12 April 2012
Report: Scott Hobro
Grant White anticipates testing times for British Cycling's Olympic Podium and Academy Programme BMX athletes at the second round of the UCI Supercross World Cup in Randaberg, Norway this weekend.
Olympic BMX coach Grant White
In addition to valuable competition for Olympic hopefuls Shanaze Reade and Liam Phillips, the full Olympic Academy squad is expected to travel to the brand new Randaberg Arena – a custom built indoor track specifically made for the event which follows on from March’s first round in Chula Vista, USA.
White has labelled Randaberg the ‘big target event’ for the batch of Academy youngsters which includes Abbie Taylor, Kyle Evans, Daniel McBride, Tre Whyte, Grant Hill and Curtis Manaton – with a target of progressing through the qualifiers.
“Randaberg plus potentially the World Championships was one of their big hits,” White said. “So they have all been geared towards that. Every rider that is full-time with us in Manchester is going so it’s a big one for us.
“It’s a key event for them and if they can get through the time trial it is then top 64. There were some really big names that missed out in Chula Vista. Once they get to racing it’s about gaining some experience, getting in amongst it. The idea is to get through their heat but it’s not going to be easy. They're first year elites - they are good bike riders but they need more power.”
The event will be Shanaze Reade’s first World Cup of the season after it was decided she would miss the Chula Vista leg to allow for extra preparation time, while fellow Olympic Podium Programme rider Liam Phillips will be hoping for better luck after a frustrating outing in the US, finishing eleventh.
“If they deliver a strong performance which is what it’s all about then I think there’s evidence there to say they should be good results as well - first and foremost take care of the performance and if you do that the result will take care of itself," White said.
“We’d seen enough in Chula to say that Liam could do quite well, however it didn’t happen; but the beauty about this is that it’s only two weeks from Chula to Norway so now he gets the opportunity to race again. It was good to get his feet back into the water so to speak. He hadn’t raced a World Cup for a long time because he had missed all of last season. I think he has shown he has got a good package there he just needs to deliver it and we’re fairly confident he will go to Norway and do that.
“Shanaze is in good shape. We discussed whether she would go to Chula Vista and the decision was to wait a couple more weeks. She’s had a little bit more preparation and she’s looking forward to getting her season underway. She’s had some good training, has moved ahead in quite a few areas and is fresh and ready to go.”
British Cycling's riders now enjoy training in the National BMX Centre, which opened last year. Similarly to the Randaberg Arena, the facility in Manchester is indoor – a plus factor as far as White is concerned.
“The supercross track here is a massive advantage to what we would normally have. In the past riding on a traditional BMX track is not the greatest preparation for a supercross event but we have a facility that delivers riders ready for that kind of race track.
“Norway should be a little more similar to what they train on here. It’s an indoor track, it is purpose built just for that event. It’s not an existing track so everyone is on the same footing. The indoor environment is a lot different from the outdoor and it’s something we’ve done a lot of over the winter and we’ll be used to that.”