Cycling: Phillips ready for BMX rollercoaster ride in Rio

Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:15pm EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Former world BMX champion Liam Phillips sums up the brutal nature of his adrenaline-fuelled sport succinctly.

"There are not really any rules on physicality," the 27-year-old Briton, preparing for a third Olympic Games, says.

"You can't take your feet off the pedals and kick somebody but after that pretty much anything can happen."

For sheer intensity, thrills and spills, the BMX races on the rollercoaster-like Deodoro course at next month's Rio Olympics will have no equal.

When the starting gate goes down, riders will plunge eight meters down, pumping their pedals for rapid acceleration, then hanging on over the lumps and bumps.

Medal hopes can vanish in the blink of an eye -- as Phillips knows all to well after crashing in the final in London four years ago having recovered from a broken collarbone just in time to take his place on the team.

While BMX racing can look chaotic, it is an extremely technical sport and the power produced by the world's top riders is similar to that put down by track sprinters like Chris Hoy, Britain's most successful Olympian.

Phillips said the start is crucial.   Continued...

Britain Cycling - Team GB - Rio 2016 BMX Team Media Session - National Cycling Centre, Manchester - 21/7/16
Great Britain's Liam Phillips poses during the media session
Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine