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Page last updated at 09:15 GMT, Friday, 11 January 2008

Reade targets golden year

By Peter Scrivener

Shanaze Reade wins team sprint gold on the track (left) and at the BMX test event in China (right)
Reade is a Beijing medal prospect in track cycling and BMX racing

Britain's teenage cycling sensation Shanaze Reade has just one goal for 2008 - to win everything.

It is a bold statement, but one that is borne out of confidence rather than arrogance.

In 2007, the "local kid from Crewe who tries my best", as Reade calls herself, proved her credentials by winning world titles in BMX racing and track cycling to re-write the record books.

She also won the Olympic BMX test event in China.

And the 19-year-old is planning to repeat last year's successes at the world track championships in Manchester this coming March, before defending her BMX crown in Taiwan at the end of May.

But it is the prospect of becoming the first Olympic BMX champion when it debuts in Beijing in August that is really driving Reade on.

606: DEBATE

"The training programme I've put in place for 2008 is to help me win every competition that I enter," she told BBC Sport.

"However, I've been BMX racing for 10 years and this is the first time that it is being showcased at the Olympics - it's my main focus for Beijing, track is secondary for me.

"It's never a certainty that anyone will go to the Olympics with the way qualification works, but my training and preparation is going well so there's no reason why I shouldn't be there."

Qualification will be settled at the world championships in Taiwan, but by then, Reade will also know whether she has made the track team as well.

A year ago she was virtually unknown in track cycling circles, but just three months after her first training session in a velodrome, Reade partnered Victoria Pendleton to victory in the team sprint in a new world record time at the world championships in Mallorca.

That was followed by a creditable fifth in the individual 500m sprint after stepping in for Pendleton at the last minute.

Having the presence of Chris Hoy around makes you believe you can be Olympic champion

Shanaze Reade

"Training on the track was something that was always a crossover and it meant I was indoors and warm in the winter," she laughed.

"I didn't ever think I would become world champion on the track in under three months.

"I remember watching the event with my mum the year before and thinking it looked like a really good sport to be part of, but I never imagined I'd ever be on the podium holding a gold medal the following year."

If the track success came as a surprise, the BMX victories were not - Reade dominated the junior ranks for several years, consistently beating the boys, as she amassed three world, eight European and five British BMX championships.

But the warmth of the velodrome has helped open new doors.

The track world championships are the first major races on Reade's radar this year, and she is moving to Manchester to concentrate her efforts on winning individual and team gold medals.

"You've got the likes of Chris Hoy and other Olympic champions around you," she continued.

"Having the presence of those guys around makes you believe in yourself and your own abilities and makes you believe you can be Olympic champion - it's a really good environment to be a part of.

"I'm doing the 500m team sprint again at the worlds, but my biggest focus is on winning the individual 500m sprint and I'm on target at the moment to produce the goods.

(l-r) Shanaze Reade and Tom Daley at the launch of the London 2012 Roadshow: Get Set London
Reade and diving prodigy Tom Daley are predicted to shine in 2012

"I won't cut out BMX training totally though. I keep it in my programme, it just gets diluted a little bit."

BMX remains Reade's biggest obsession and her training schedule was highlighted in the BBC programme Olympic Dreams, the first series of which was broadcast in December on BBC Two.

With a lack of decent BMX training facilities available, Reade took her bike out on to the streets of Crewe and used a garage as a gym.

"Hopefully it showed young children that you don't need to go to these fancy big gyms," she said.

"I've always won my medals by doing the basics, and it's important to realise you don't have to train at the Institute of Sport.

"If you want to do something in life, you'll do it.

"But you've got to keep a fun element in what you're doing because if you're 13 years old and training twice a day, every day, you can get burnt out by the age of 16.

"If you're training to get to the Olympics, there are times when you've got to knuckle down but you can keep the fun - the two can work together.

"But I just like training and seeing where I get to."

And with Olympic and World titles in BMX racing and track cycling in her sights, 2008 promises to be an interesting journey for the local kid from Crewe.

Shanaze Reade is among the British athletes who BBC Sport and Olympic Dreams will be following during the countdown to Beijing.


see also
Team GB for Beijing
29 Nov 07 |  Team GB
Cycling on the BBC
02 Oct 07 |  Cycling
Liam Killeen's mountain bike guide
02 Mar 06 |  Get Involved


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