Reade is ready after watching from sidelines

GREAT Britain’s Shanaze Reade admitted she was relieved to have finally started her Olympics campaign after qualifying for tomorrow’s BMX semi-final races.

Reade, 23, has been given starting gate three in Friday’s first semi-final after her lap of 39.368 seconds made her the fifth fastest – Australia’s time trial world champion Caroline Buchanan was the quickest with 38.434 – and said she was pleased to have finished her first race.

“It felt quite good out there,” said Reade, the three-time world champion who crashed in the final of the 2008 Beijing Games. “The first race is always going to be a bit rusty.

“I have been sitting around and watching Olympic titles being won and have just wanted to get out there and compete myself.”

Compatriot Liam Phillips, meanwhile, qualified for the men’s semi-finals – also tomorrow – doing so in a time of 38.719 to finish in 12th place, but denied that he had home advantage.

He said: “Unfortunately it is not a home track – we have not had any additional access.

“As much as the other countries have turned to us to ask, ‘What’s it like to ride on your home track?’ my answer is always, ‘my practice must be good if you think that myself and Shanaze are going that fast’.

“[But] I love it. This is the sort of level that all athletes want.”