Published: 18 April 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Video: Eddie Allen/Simon Powers
Shanaze Reade feels she is entering this weekend’s Manchester UCI BMX Supercross in prime condition after an injury-free winter and a new personal best in training.
The 24-year-old will aim to prolong her form in a world-class field at the National BMX Centre this weekend, having not won in the series since the London Olympic test event in 2011.
“It’s been absolutely amazing to have no injuries, touch wood, nothing has happened this winter and it’s been one of the first in two years were I have had a solid block,” said British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider Reade.
“There’s been a few little teething problems but nothing major where it has put me out for a couple of weeks or whatever, just small things. The results I have seen, I took five-tenths off my personal best so even in that sense having that consistency has made a massive difference to myself.”
The three-time elite women’s BMX world champion attributes the National BMX Centre as a key aspect in her progression, since 2011 providing Great Britain’s athletes with an indoor facility which includes an eight metre start ramp, as used in the supercross events.
“I think everyone is seeing the results have just got higher and higher, the times have got faster and faster and together as a team we have really gelled and pushed each other on,” said Reade, who also has a track world championship gold medal to her name in the team sprint.
“I think to rate this track would be to at the highest level you can get just because in supercross generally conditions have got to be favourable because of the wind and the rain. You don’t have to worry what it does out there, we can come in here and still do a 100% track session and not be affected by the weather conditions.”
The meeting in Manchester, the first of four supercross rounds with trips to Argentina, Netherlands and USA waiting, is a perfect opening for Reade to register another early season victory.
While there are no qualifying points on offer for the 2016 Rio Olympics so early in the cycle, standings in the series will help determine the number of places each nation is given in the 2014 world championships.
“I think competing on your home track and in the environment you’re used to, you know the track like the back of your hand,” Reade said.
“Just experiencing the national [British BMX Series] was amazing, the crowds that came and supported the event were amazing.
“Then to race the world cup is going to be that next level, more competition is going to come over and I think it’s going to be an amazing atmosphere here.”
France’s world champion Magalie Pottier and Olympic bronze medallist Laura Smulders from the Netherlands are scheduled to start on Friday and are likely to pose the strongest threat to Reade’s aspirations of a victory.
“The top names are going to be supporting this world cup and I think the atmosphere is going to be amazing just because it is indoors,” Reade said.
“Whoever is going to purchase tickets and come to watch whether that be in [Friday’s] time-trial or coming to watch us race on the Saturday you’re going to see the fastest people in the world race on one of the best tracks in the world.”