Kye Whyte is relishing a competitive return to Manchester as he and his Great Britain team-mates continue to battle for places on the plane to Tokyo.
Today marks 100 days until Whyte is back on his home track for the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup – scene of his first elite global victory last year – which will represent the last chance for British fans to see the world’s best in action before they contest Olympic medals in Japan.
The two-day world cup, which will take place on April 18 and 19, has increased significance for Whyte after his win at the equivalent event last year.
He recalls: “Last year in Manchester is still probably the best day I’ve ever had on a bike. The crowd were brilliant and obviously we always feel at home on the track in Manchester, and I remember thinking from very early on that if I rode the way I knew I could, I’d have a chance of having a really good day.
“When it actually happened, though, it was incredible. As soon as I crossed the line I wanted to get back out in front of the crowd and try to take it all in. My family was there as well, and to share a moment like that with them and my team-mates is something I’ll never forget.”
Whyte is undoubtedly one of the sport’s rising stars – that win in Manchester followed his second place at the previous year’s European championships, while a strong showing at the 2019 world championships was only ended by an unfortunate crash in the final.
His recent form and results have put Whyte in the mix for selection for Tokyo, and with the Manchester round of this season’s world cup one of a dwindling number of remaining opportunities to impress before the Olympic team is confirmed, the 21-year-old knows the importance of continuing his progress.
He adds: “While you don’t want the Olympics to take over everything you do, there is no denying that going to Tokyo is a huge target for me, as it is for all of our team and for riders from across the world.
“Competition amongst the Great Britain Cycling Team is incredibly tough – we’re all very close and we all know how talented everyone else is – so it’s going to be an intense year, but hopefully one with a big prize at the end of it.
“Racing in Manchester again will be a special experience. Not just because of what happened last year, but because of the crowd, because of having your family and friends watch you, and because you really get the sense that people are behind you when you’re racing for your country, which is exactly the feeling you want when you’re heading towards an Olympic Games.”
Tickets for the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup in Manchester are available to purchase here.