Phillips aiming high

BMX ace Liam Phillips hopes to stay on top of the world until the Rio de Janeiro Olympics and take a shot at gold in his third Games.

The world champion opens his season at the World Cup competition in Manchester, which begins on Friday, looking to make his mark on his home track.

The 25-year-old from Burnham-on-Sea said: "It's one of the highlights of my season. It's always a good place to start the year, kicking off the World Cup tour again.

"I was able to perform well last year and I was on a high for the rest of the season. It's going to be great.

"The objective is to be winning World Cups and World Championship races right through till Rio and who knows?

"It's a one-day race and if I go there in the form I've had for the last 18 months it should be good."

Phillips is a two-time Olympian and reached the London 2012 final only to crash.

He won the 2013 BMX world title in New Zealand, claiming a coveted rainbow jersey which acts as an inspiration to himself and his team-mates.

Phillips leads a five rider squad - Charlotte Green, Abbie Taylor, Kyle Evans and Tre Whyte - into the World Cup event.

"I wear it every day," he said of his rainbow jersey.

"It was something I'd worked towards for such a long time, I wanted to spend as long as I can wearing it.

"It's been a massive boost for our younger guys that are training full-time; when they're training with somebody that is wearing the world champion's jersey it gives them a lift.

"I think it's been huge for our programme. It's shown the younger guys that if you work hard and if you follow this process that I've been through then you'll eventually get there."

Phillips' achievement has come in no small part due to the building of an indoor facility at British Cycling's Manchester headquarters.

Rather than dodging the elements for a short ride outside, Phillips and his team-mates can train whatever the weather.

"I look back at the time that I spent when I was their age outdoors and what I would get from one session now, training indoors, would've taken five or six sessions," Phillips added.

It means his younger team-mates have arguably a better chance of long-term success.

"We're a tight group, we all get on really well. I've taught them everything I know and I think they're way ahead of me (at the same age)," Phillips added.

"They're certainly going to be competitive in the years to come. I just hope I still can keep up with them."