Reade set for key BMX test event

Olympic BMX Park

Reade is one of 170 athletes set to compete on the London Games course

Three-time world champion Shanaze Reade says the BMX Olympic test event is the most important race of her year.

The 22-year-old is one of 170 athletes, competing on the London 2012 course for the first time on August 19-20.

“Having an event in my home country is a special feeling,” said Reade.

“Getting used to the surroundings, the facilities and the course is vital preparation ahead of next year, so it’s going to be a big race!”

Reade entered the 2008 Beijing Olympics as favourite to take gold, but fell from her bike in the final and failed to win a medal.

She suffered further disappointment earlier this month, failing to defend the world title she won in 2010 when she was knocked out in the semi-finals in Denmark, afterwards blaming a bike malfunction.

However Reade insists she has learnt from these experiences.

“One thing I’ve taken from it all is not to see results as a life-or-death thing and rather to treat big events as just a normal BMX race – often when I do that I come out with the top spot,” Reade told BBC Sport.

BMX rider Shanaze Reade

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The BMX Olympic test event, which doubles up as the third round of the UCI Supercross World Cup Series, is only the second sport to take place in the Olympic Park, following the basketball test event, which began earlier this week.

A capacity crowd of 2,500 are expected to attend at a venue where capacity will be 6,000 by the beginning of the Olympics.

The London course is characterised by a series of jumps, bumps, tightly banked corners and a unique tunnel underpass.

“Having a test event is a good opportunity to get to grips with the different elements and work out the challenging parts,” said Reade.

Shanaze Reade

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Pedal problems end Reade’s world championship title defence

“I’m looking forward to getting out there. In a year’s time I’ll be back here and I’ll be here to win, hopefully a victory in the test event will be a good omen for 2012!”

Of the 170 competitors, 64 male and 32 female riders will progress from Friday’s time-trials to Saturday’s quarter-finals.

After a series of heats and semi-finals, eight riders from each gender will progress to the finals – scheduled to take place from 1630 BST on Saturday.

One of Reade’s main opponents will be newly-crowned world champion Mariana Pajon of Columbia.

The 19-year old won her first global title at the age of nine and is one of the sport’s rising talents.

“Being the world champion is incredible, a dream come true,” said Pajon.

“Of course I always go for a win and a gold medal, but this week is more about just riding the track and feeling confident on it.”

Pajon said of Reade: “She is a great athlete, I feel proud racing with her and being around her, but I want to beat her!”

Reade, who aims to compete in both BMX and track cycling events in 2012 insists her recent injury problems are now behind her and that she is ready for her next challenge.

“As an athlete you have to accept you get set-backs, but I’ve got over that now, I’m fit and well and looking forward to the test event and the Olympic Games,” she said.

Follow Olympic sports reporter Nick Hope on Twitter for updates.

Shanaze Reade's guide to the BMX bike

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Shanaze Reade explains the basics of her BMX bike

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