Britain’s Liam Phillips went through to the BMX semi-finals at the earliest opportunity having finished second behind America’s Connor Field in each of the first three heats of the quarter-finals.
Each time Phillips used his fast start to get to the first turn in second place behind Fields and stay clear of any crashes behind. “Its not straight forward I can assure you, but I enjoyed it.” He said.
“Obviously [Fields] had the inside [line], and it’s hard to beat someone when they’ve got the inside, but to be up there and be competitive in to turn one, I can take a lot of positive from that. But I’ll just draw a line and move forward to tomorrow.”
“I’ve always maintained that this is somewhat of a….. it’s just survival, it’s getting to that final.” Phillips continued. “I just go out and focus on my own stuff, stay out of trouble and the most important thing is to make it to day two.”
After the first three rounds of the quarter-finals the riders ranked first and second go straight through to the semis. The other six race twice more with the best two again going through. Going through early avoids the risk of crashing and saves a rider the effort of another two races.
“I’d say Connor is the favourite coming in to the Olympics. He’s a fantastic rider, to go out and, through all three rounds equal him to first turn……”
Phillips returns tomorrow for the semi-finals, and, hopefully the finals. “I’m not bothered whether in the semi-finals tomorrow I scrape through in eighth place. I know if I do that I’ve got just as good a chance has anybody to come away with a medal, so that’s the plan.”
Shanaze Reade also returns tomorrow as the women’s event goes straight in to the semi-final races.
Raymon van der Biezen, number 121
Liam Phillips, number 65
Untangling a crash