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Phillips eases into men's Olympic BMX semi-finals

Phillips eases into men's Olympic BMX semi-finals

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Great Britain’s Liam Phillips booked his place in Friday’s Olympic BMX semi-finals with a confidence building performance in the quarter-final stage.

The 23-year-old finished second in the opening three rides in heat two, enough to take him through without having to complete all five runs. The top two riders in each of the four heats after three runs progressed, the remaining six left to battle it out for another two qualifying spots in the final two runs.

American Connor Fields - who was crowned world time-trial champion ahead of Phillips in May - proved his foe again, the only man of seven who could better Phillips in his heat as the 450m course brought a host of crashes, fortunately none involving the British rider. The pair finished 1-2 in all three heats to mark out their progress without the inconvenience of  additional rides.

Phillips, who only recently returned from a broken collarbone sustained at the BMX world championships in May, stated his intentions from the opening run with a powerful start on the 8m high ramp. He was ousted on the opening corner by Fields, but showed composure to track the American around the remainder of the course to roll in second and with that, the blueprint was established.

The subsequent two rides followed a similar pattern, Phillips showcasing strength out of the gate which helped him to his world time-trial silver medal but 19-year-old Fields was equally as classy and on each occasion led out of the first bend. Phillips was content to sit behind, knowing that his position would eventually qualify him with the absence of any unnecessary risk.

In the final heat, Latvia’s Rihards Veide pushed Phillips close on the final two rhythm section straights before the finish, but Phillips held off the challenge to complete a satisfying afternoon’s work and importantly, avoid the extra physical output of two runs and the hazard of a potential crash.

If any of the field of 32 risked forgetting the high risk but enthralling nature of the sport, they were soon reminded. Heat 2 saw a mass seven rider pile-up on the first corner, New Zealand’s Marc Williers the lone survivor rolled almost apologetically across the line in first.

That was followed by a series of falls as the competition unravelled, in the case of New Zealand’s Kurt Pickard and Brazil’s Renato Rezende it would cost them their Olympic dream, both withdrawing after tangling - leaving heat 1 with just four riders for the last two runs.

Elsewhere, defending champion Maris Strombergs made sure there would be no surprise exit in spite of a slow start for the Latvian. World champion Sam Willloughby, in the same heat, had to go through the full five rides but the Australian's class inevitable shone through and he eased his way into the last 16.  

Phillips was to have no such concerns, quickly getting to the front of the pack, out of the way of trouble before a level-headed choice of line in the opening bend reaped reward as it gave the ideal foundation upon to build a solid ride on each of his runs.

With the majority of the 6,000 strong crowd giving him a thunderous reception each time his name was announced, it made his ability to maintain a focus all the more notable and he will hope to channel the energy of the home crowd in a similar foundation on Friday when the medals are decided.


Results

                 
Heat 1                
Rk Athlete PF PF PF PF PF Points  
Points Run 1 Points Run 2 Points Run 3 Points Run 4 Points Run 5
1 van der BIEZEN Raymon 1 1 1 - - 3 Q
2 TREIMANIS Edzus 4 6 2 - - 12 Q
3 CALEYRON Quentin 7 5 5 1 1 19 Q
4 YOUNG Khalen 8 2 3 2 4 19 Q
DNF
5 THERKILDSEN Morten 6 4 4 4 2 20  
6 FALLA BUCHELY Emilio Andres 3 8 6 3 3 23  
DNF
7 PICKARD Kurt 5 3 7 8 8 31  
DNF DNS DNS
8 REZENDE Renato 2 8 10 8 8 36  
DNF DNS DNS DNS
                 
Heat 2                
Rk Athlete PF PF PF PF PF Points  
Points Run 1 Points Run 2 Points Run 3 Points Run 4 Points Run 5
1 FIELDS Connor 1 1 1 - - 3 Q
2 PHILLIPS Liam 2 2 2 - - 6 Q
3 JIMENEZ CAICEDO Andres Eduardo 4 3 4 1 5 17 Q
4 VEIDE Rihards 6 4 3 4 2 19 Q
5 NYHAUG Tory 3 7 6 3 1 20  
6 MOO CAILLE Moana 5 5 5 2 6 23  
7 van GORKOM Jelle 7 8 8 5 3 31  
8 BAIER Maik 8 6 7 6 4 31  
                 
Heat 3                
Rk Athlete PF PF PF PF PF Points  
Points Run 1 Points Run 2 Points Run 3 Points Run 4 Points Run 5
1 WILLERS Marc 1 2 1 - - 4 Q
2 DAUDET Joris 4 1 2 - - 7 Q
3 HERMAN David 8 3 4 1 2 18 Q
DNF
4 RINDERKNECHT Roger 3 5 3 4 3 18 Q
5 LONG Nicholas 7 4 5 2 1 19  
6 PIZARRO Ernesto 6 6 7 3 4 26  
7 de VECCHI Manuel 2 8 8 6 5 29  
8 CALUAG Daniel 5 7 6 5 6 29  
                 
Heat 4                
Rk Athlete PF PF PF PF PF Points  
Points Run 1 Points Run 2 Points Run 3 Points Run 4 Points Run 5
1 van GENDT Twan 1 2 4 - - 7 Q
2 STROMBERGS Maris 2 5 1 - - 8 Q
3 WILLOUGHBY Sam 4 1 3 2 6 16 Q
4 OQUENDO ZABALA Carlos Mario 8 4 2 6 1 21 Q
DNF
5 BRETHAUER Luis 6 3 5 4 4 22  
6 DUBOIS Arnaud 3 8 7 3 3 24  
7 KIRKHAM Brian 7 7 8 1 2 25  
8 NHLAPO Sifiso 5 6 6 5 5 27  


TEAM JERSEY 15/16

Team Jersey 15/16

TRACK WORLDS 2016

Track Worlds 2016