Cycling: BMX is way forward for Reade, says Sutton
BRITISH Cycling head coach Shane Sutton has told Shanaze Reade to forget about returning to the velodrome – adamant concentrating her efforts fully on BMX would spare her embarrassment.
No sooner had the 24-year-old Crewe racer trudged off the BMX course at London 2012, where she finished sixth in the final, than was she stating her beliefs that she still had a lot to offer on the track.
There is a vacancy now that double Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton, with whom Reade won world team sprint gold in 2007 and 2008, as well as silver in 2009, has retired.
Three-time world BMX champion Reade backed her statement up by admitting she is fully aware of how much the team sprint has changed since – but Sutton insists it is far greater than she imagines.
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Sutton is widely regarded as one of the masterminds behind Britain's all-conquering cyclists... and he strongly suggests Reade sticks to what she knows best.
"We have a massive review going on at the moment, and whatever happens from that I don't know," said Sutton.
"But, for me, Shanaze would be a fantastic specimen in whatever sport she opted for.
"She has power, she has speed, she has got it all – but applying it seems to be a difficult thing for her at the moment.
"I think she needs to concentrate on BMX, which she is obviously the best in the world at, because on the big stage she hasn't got it right.
"And if she came back to the track then I think it has moved on too far.
"She became world champion when the girls were running time of 19.1, 19.2 and 19.3seconds.
"These girls now are running 18.4, 18.5, 18.6 and 18.7 seconds, so it is a big ask for her to come back to the track at the level that Jess Varnish and Vicky were performing at."
The stage on which Sutton eludes to Reade not getting right is, of course, the Olympic one, with her sixth place in London this summer following four years on from her crash at the 2008 Beijing Games.
And Sutton is adamant that, if Reade ditches the ideas of a track return and fully commits herself to BMX, then she can make it third time lucky at the next Olympics, in Rio in 2016.
"I think Shanaze should stick at BMX. If we address the issues then she is still 100 per-cent capable of winning the gold medal," he added.
"It is not just the physical element of what she does, but the covert elements of what she does on the ramp.
"A statement from my boss Dave Brailsford was 'if you can't walk a tight rope don't be a tight-rope walker'. That's where she has made mistakes."
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