Published: 28 July 2013
Report: Scott Hobro
Great Britain’s Liam Phillips produced a sensational performance to become the BMX world champion in Auckland, New Zealand.
Elite men's final is at 1:45:00
The 24-year-old took his first world title finishing ahead of New Zealand’s Marc Willers and Germany’s Luis Brethauer in the Vector Arena.
An imperious Phillips won every race en route to the final including all three of his moto heats plus his 1/8, quarter and semi finals.
The rider from Burnham-on-Sea then maintained his composure and led out the final to earn a rainbow jersey and was visibly emotional as the reality of his achievement sunk in.
British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme rider Kyle Evans, 19, was eliminated in the motos, narrowly missing out on progression to the 1/8 finals.
"It feels amazing, the reward for the hours spent training, we dedicate our lives to this," Phillips said.
"A huge amount of credit needs to go the guys at British Cycling from Grant White to everyone else I work with. What you see here is the end product of so much hard work, it’s been a fantastic race, incredible.
“Apart from 2011, I’ve been to every worlds since 1996 when I was a kid. It’s the first time I’ve won.
“We knew it would be tight and planned for this. I knew my form was quite good when I won the Manchester World Cup, but then I made mistakes at the next two world cups in Europe.
“I just wanted to keep the mistakes to a minimum and I managed that.”
British Cycling Olympic BMX coach Grant White added: "It’s phenomenal and he’d done the work. Once you’ve done the work you’re prepared and you can sit there with a bit of confidence.
"He’d done the work to be successful and that’s over a long period of time, that’s not over the last few months that’s over the last couple of years. He knew he’d had a great preparation over the last 12 months and he delivered.
"It’s a culmination of everything, we knew he was in the best shape of his life and came here and delivered, it’s unbelievable, fantastic.
"This year he knows he’s capable and he’s got the package. He put it all together today."
Phillips, who finished sixth in Saturday’s time trial, made serene progress through the moto heats with three convincing victories and continued the pattern in the knockout rounds.
Evans, making his elite men’s world championships debut, finished third, seventh and fifth in his three moto heats, placing fifth with only the top four from eight going through.
Defending champion Sam Willoughby and time trial winner Connor Fields exited in the same quarter final heat as two-time Olympic champion Maris Strombergs also failed to progress to the semi finals.
Phillips had no such difficulties leading out his quarter final and was equally as strong in winning his semi final heat.
In the final a powerful start again gave Phillips the initiative and he maintained his composure to lead out the race and earn a prestigious rainbow jersey.
Australian Caroline Buchanan won the elite women’s title ahead of Lauren Reynolds and Manon Valentino with no British representation after the withdrawal of Shanaze Reade through injury.