Two-time Olympic Champion Maris Strombergs joined current world champion and Olympian Liam Phillips for a one-off collaborative training session at Manchester’s National Cycling Centre yesterday.
The international rivals sized each other up on the track for the first time following Phillips’ World Cup win in Auckland last July.
The session was hosted as preparations intensify ahead of the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup, which takes place April 18-19. Strombergs became the first ever Olympic BMX champion, representing Latvia, in 2008, however it was the first time the veteran racer had taken on Manchester’s official World Cup course.
Phillips was flanked by up and coming talent from British Cycling’s BMX Academy. Visiting teams from Norway and Latvia, including riders Martin Hellevik and Edzus Treimanis, used the special training day to preview the Manchester track, coming face to face with their local opponents.
Grant White, Olympic BMX coach for British Cycling, said: “The international presence is a semi-regular and welcome addition to GB’s training regime. Our riders perform three hour sessions each day, sometimes twice a day, for five to six days a week, so it’s an intense schedule in the first instance. Bringing these competitors to the track really adds to the atmosphere around the training environment, and illustrates the scale of an event like the BMX Supercross World Cup.
“Liam Phillips is understandably eager to defend his title and he’s certainly in a prime position to come up against Strombergs again in April. Liam is looking forward to challenging strongly for World Cup and World Championships success in 2014.”
The National BMX Centre, which was built with £24million of funding from Sport England, Manchester City Council and the European Regional Fund, has been a regular venue for the world’s leading competitions and teams since opening in August 2011.
The fastest riders from across the globe will again descend on Manchester for the first round of the 2014 BMX Supercross World Cup series on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 April. The event is part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series, which aims to bring 70 world class sporting events to the UK by 2019, and is also backed by British Cycling and Manchester City Council.
Single-day tickets for the BMX Supercross World Cup are priced from £10. For further event information and to book, visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk/britishcycling.