In a display of extreme speed and skill, Great Britainâ€™s Liam Phillips and Shanaze Reade last night won the opening round of the 2013 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester.
The British duo took a clean sweep of wins at the event that saw the worldâ€™s top 64 men and 32 women, freshly qualified from Fridayâ€™s time trials, racing 8 abreast, elbow to elbow in a series of elimination races before the final.
The dayâ€™s racing began with the motos â€“ the elimination stage where each athlete rides three times against the same opponents. The competition intensified as the menâ€™s field was whittled down, and in the final Liam Phillips was faced with a strong line-up of opponents that included Olympic silver medallist Sam Willoughby (Australia) and 2012 time trials World Champion Connor Fields (USA).
Phillips rode through to take victory in front of Canadaâ€™s Tory Nyhaug and Sam Willoughby. Fields came through in fifth place behind French rider Sylvain AndrÃ©.
In the womenâ€™s competition, Shanaze Reade pulled out all the stops, coming first in all three motos, with fellow team-mates, Charlotte Green and Abbie Taylor flying through as well. Reade, also a finalist at London 2012, put on another fantastic show in the semi-finals while her compatriots missed out on a place in the final.
After getting a good start in the final race of the evening, Reade took an early lead and was untroubled in her race to victory. Second place went to Brooke Crain of the USA, with Merle van Benthem (the Netherlands) coming through for third place.
The 2013 UCI BMX Supercross World Cup continues in Santiago de Estero, Argentina, on May 10 and 11, followed by rounds in Papendal (the Netherlands) in June and Chula Vista (USA) in September.
Photo: Shanaze Reade races to victory