British Cycling have turned to BMX rider Liam Phillips in a bid to solve their team sprint problems ahead of the olympics.
The 22-year-old is being looked at as a replacement for Jamie Staff, who has yet to be properly replaced since retiring in the wake of the team winning gold at the Beijing Games with Sir Chris Hoy and Jason Kenny.
Hoy and Kenny were partnered with Matt Crampton at last month’s World Championships, but could only finish third behind the dominant French.
British Cycling hope Phillips can provide them with the powerful first lap Kenny, who also came from the BMX ranks, regularly used to.
Head coach Shane Sutton said: “BMX requires powerful acceleration from a standing start which mirrors what’s required from the ‘man one’ rider in the team sprint.
“Like Jamie Staff before him, Liam has proved he is powerful enough to bring the rest of the team up to pace within the first lap.
“With that in mind it is certainly worth bringing him into the squad to take a closer look, whilst keeping the door open for Liam to continue his BMX career.”
Phillips, who has enjoyed moderate success as a BMX rider, finishing second at a World Cup last year, added: “Over the past few years, I’ve sustained numerous injuries which have left me unable to train on the BMX track for significant periods of time.
“Turning to track has meant that I receive a solid block of training with opportunities to compete at a high level which means I’m not missing out on the competition experience.
“And let’s face it – this has to be one of the best environments in the world of cycling to train in.”