Liam Phillips: Embrace The Pressure
Published 31 March 2016
2013 Getty Images
Liam Phillips is determined to give the 'performance of his life' as he goes in search of a record-breaking fourth straight victory at the home round of the 2016 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in April.
Home favourite Phillips has won the Great Britain leg of the World Cup tour on the past three occasions and in the process became the first rider to achieve that feat on the same track.
Now the back-to-back UCI BMX Supercross World Cup champion enters the highly-anticipated meeting carrying the weight of expectation to rewrite the record books on British soil.
The 26-year-old is well aware that all eyes will be on him in Manchester but he is welcoming the pressure to send the crowd home celebrating a Great Britain victory, as his Road to Rio steps up another gear.
“I have a weird relationship with this particular race, it’s more of a love-hate relationship with the event,” said Phillips.
“I have been training regularly but there’s massive pressure on me winning as I’ve won for the past three years.
“This has been such a great experience of which I am so proud of and it’s been fantastic becoming a figurehead for the event.
“However, it’s unfortunately gotten to the point where either I win the race as expected, or I don’t and it be considered a failure.
“But this is also giving me the motivation to put on the best performance of my life.
“There’s a massive depth of talent who will be there in April and everyone will definitely step their game up for the competition so it will be a big challenge and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”
This year’s UCI BMX Supercross World Cup rolls into the second round, taking place at Manchester’s acclaimed National Cycling Centre.
Here, modifications to Manchester’s competition track were recently put in place to help athletes in their final preparations for Rio 2016 which will also help ensure spectacular racing this April.
“We’re extremely lucky to have the world-class facility on our doorstep here in Manchester it’s sure to help new talent beyond recognition,” he continued.
“The changes are a massive part of both professional and young development and it puts us in good stead for competitions across the world.”
With the 2016 BMX Supercross World Cup drawing ever closer Phillips also offered valuable advice to budding BMXers hoping to get a slice of the action.
He added: “There will definitely be no dull moments this year as the event promises constant, exhilarating action. It’s definitely one of the highlights of my year and I cannot wait!
“It’s a great atmosphere and an even greater sport, my advice to any future hopeful would be to just have fun.
“I race because I enjoy it, I love it, it’s more of a hobby than a job. Some kids just come home and get straight on their bike and, for me, that’s what it’s all about, you have to love it to do it.
“And it doesn’t matter what aspirations you have, some of the best athletes in the world started out with BMX as it gives you the essential skills for a great head start into other sports.”
The 2016 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup was recently crowned the best event of the year having beaten off competition from four rivals. Manchester’s BMX track, which opened at the National Cycling Centre in 2011, attracts 31,000 visitors every year.
The 2016 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup returns to the home of British Cycling, Manchester, on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 April.
Liam Phillips is one of 1,300 athletes supported by UK Sport’s National Lottery funded World Class Programme.
To support the Great Britain Cycling Team on the road to Rio or give the gift of an action-packed day out, get your tickets at http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/britishcycling
A full event schedule is available to view via the event website at http://bmxsuperx.com.