Road To 2012
Killeen Finds Form At Sunshine Cup
Published 20 February 2012
Words And Photography By Luke Webber
In his first mountain bike competition of 2012, British Cycling Podium Programme athlete Liam Killeen has found early season form, finishing third behind World Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy at the Sunshine Cup in Cyprus.
And British Cycling’s Olympic Mountain Bike Coach, Phil Dixon believes the result confirms a new approach to the double-Olympian’s training is working.
Following a winter of cyclo-cross races, where Dixon reveals the focus was on dictating the race in the opening thirty minutes and improving Killeen’s abilities in the early stages of a mountain bike race, has had its first confirmation.
In a race where the express aim was to score UCI points to improve gridding for the Olympic Games, while gaining race conditioning, Killeen showed his aspirations for the forthcoming season – most notably returning to the World Cup podium – were not misplaced.
Riding across to the lead group – and riding a 29er mountain bike for the first time in competition – Killeen was in contention for the win and only finished third by three seconds and according to Dixon this is only the start.
“Liam is now in a good place; he is happy, he is buying into his own plan and there is a lot more to come. This is the result of a long period of training through the winter which has included cyclo-cross and a training camp with Team Sky. It was important he trained over winter with riders of pedigree in an out of competition, world class environment.
“Now he has got his first result of the year on a mountain bike and it is good to see him returning to the front of the race, re-learning what that is like to ride there. Liam wants to put in a good performance for Great Britain at the Olympics and part of the plan to achieve that is early season racing.”
And in the second round of the Sunshine Cup, Killeen finished tenth after starting 90th on the grid. Killeen now returns to Britain to prepare for the opening round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.