BMX: Shanaze Reade determined to keep wheels turning for Team GB

 

The track cycling may have finished yesterday but Britain's gold rush can continue next to it, and on a slightly different vehicle, today. The BMX cycling starts this afternoon with the seeding runs, on the BMX track immediately next to the Velodrome in which Britain have been so thrillingly dominant. Shanaze Reade will be hoping to replicate the success of Victoria Pendleton, her former team-mate and current room-mate, starting today at 3pm.

Today's action just determines the seedings for the semi-finals, to keep the fastest riders apart. The race along the twisting and dipping 440m track will be followed by the semi-finals, in which the riders have three runs, with the four quickest from each progressing to the one-run final. The semi- finals start on Friday at 3pm, the final later that afternoon at 4.30pm.

It is quite different from track cycling but Reade can claim to be a success at both, having won the team sprint at World Championships alongside Pendleton in 2007 and 2008. She is very happy, though, to make the case for her event. "BMX is a sport children can get involved in easily and relatively cheap," she said last week.

"Our sport offers everything. We are going 50kph down the first straight and hitting big jumps and it is one of the most demanding sports there is. It definitely deserves a place in the Olympics."

Reade knows that the events of the last few weeks add their own pressure. "I'm mindful of the fact that everybody in the British team has been so successful," she said.

"I'm sharing a room with Victoria [Pendleton], who has done amazing, and it makes it feel real. If another British athlete is winning, then why can't you? It seems like everybody is feeding off the crowds.

"Racing in the test event last year was absolutely incredible and I have been buzzing since then. There were 3,000 people there, and there are going to be 6,000 when we compete. I can't wait. I won in front of half of the crowd and it was such an amazing feeling."

Four years ago Reade reached the final but could not complete the course. Now she is keen to put that right. "After Beijing in 2008 I had a kind of love-hate relationship with the Olympics," she said. "Coming in this time feels so normal and relaxed. I have won all these races but not the Olympics, and that is what keeps the fire burning for me."

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