It’s safe to say Liam Phillips has hit the best form of his Elite career in 2012. Since those early wins in Manchester with some good foreign opposition his season has been building nicely. His first Euro outing in Kortrijk got him noticed again amongst the Elite class who’d not seen much of him in the last couple of seasons since he hit the velodrome switching his focus for a while. By Caen Indoor a lot of people were talking about his first 5 pedals being unstopable and it being near on impossible to holeshot being on the outside of him. He doubled that weekend not dropping a lap, even managing to win one day with a flat tire for half the track! By Randaberg it was all coming together for him and he was just edged off the top step of the time trial podium by a very quick Connor Fields. The UK fans finally had a ligitimate Elite men’s title contender to cheer on in Birmngham and after another second place finish on Friday night taking a silver medal Liam was looking really good for a World podium. Unfortunately a heavy crash on Saturday night in the first moto left Liam stretchered off and out of the event, nursing an injury that would need a quick surgery to get him back on track for London. We caught up with him to get the low down on his season so far…
BMX TALK. You’ve had the best year of your Elite career, give us a quick re-cap of how it’s gone?
LP:It’s certainly been a successful year but I also feel it could have been better. I was a little rusty at the first Euro round in Belgium and made some mistakes which cost me a couple of solid results. I went into Chula Vista in great shape and knew I was capable of producing a good result but again my own mistakes cost me. I spent 7 months away from BMX and 17 months away from the World Cup circuit so it was always going to take time to find my feet in competition again. With all that being said, I can’t overlook my performances at several races including Norway World Cup & the Worlds. I’ve Time trial’d well all year so it was great to pick up a medal at the Worlds. It’s been a strong season and it’s not over yet.
BMX Talk: Second place TT finishes behind Connor Fields are still huge results, but we know you are ligitimate contender for winning these events now, when you were sat in the hot seat at Birmingham with 1 man to go it must have felt like Norway all over again?
LP: It felt exactly the same! I had a split second where I thought ‘is this going to be enough to win one of those coveted white jersey’s’? I soon talked myself out of that as I knew what had happened in Norway! You can never overlook an athlete like Connor who has consistently delivered, race after race.
BMX Talk:Silver is still a great achievment, are you content and it must be a good confidence booster going into London?
LP: A medal at a World Championship’s is a huge achievement. However, whilst Timetrial remains a form of qualification and not an Olympic event my focus will remain with racing. I would love to see the Timetrial in the Olympic programme though. It would be great for BMX and will only add support to the BMX programme from World Class Performance at British Cycling.
BMX Talk: The Worlds didn’t go to plan and you suffered a bad crash in the moto’s which put you out, give us a quick recap and the resulting injury:
LP:I had been looking forward to the Worlds for a very long time and Friday’s result just added to that excitement. I knew I was in great physical shape so when I crashed I was extremely disappointed. I crashed hard and knew I was hurt but just kept my fingers crossed that it wasn’t an injury that would rule me out for a number of months. Thankfully, it wasn’t and I had surgery to plate my collarbone immediately. It was a big impact though and I suffered a few other injuries including 3 fractured rib heads and a fractured shoulder blade. With all that being said the injuries were manageable and I was back to full-time training within a week which is pretty remarkable considering. I certainly feel lucky.
BMX Talk: On Twitter we read the surgery was a success and you seem to be itching to get back out there?
LP: I’m so greatful and lucky to have a fantastic support network within British Cycling. Everything and anything that could have been done has been. I know that I’ve received the best medical care before and after surgery and that’s allowed me to continue training in a safe manner. It also means that I don’t have to rush things and get back on the bike too soon. I’m getting some great work done at the moment and I’ll get back on the bike with plenty of time before the Olympics and when I’m ready.
BMX Talk:The rest has probably been good for you…what’s the run in to the games have in store for you for the next 36 days?
LP:Grant and I have a good idea of how things will look and the plan hasn’t changed since the Worlds. It’s 47 days until the first day of competition when I write this. You cant rob me of 11 days! Haha.
BMX Talk: Haha my bad…well you make sure no-one’s robbing you of a well earned medal. Good luck for the games and bring it home for the fans!