Reade to race in USA
Shanaze Reade will race for money on BMX's professional tour in the United States next year after deciding to step away from British Cycling's Olympic podium programme.
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The 25-year-old is to compete on the ABA BMX Series and has been given the backing of British Cycling in making the move, which Reade hopes will prove to be astute as she builds towards the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Reade is a four-time BMX world champion, and also won track team sprint world golds with Victoria Pendleton in 2007 and 2008. She has twice been an Olympic finalist, but has yet to gain a podium finish.
Rather than continuing to compete for Britain and train alongside national team colleagues, Reade has decided to take time out in a different environment across the Atlantic. It means she will miss the BMX World Championships, scheduled for Rotterdam in July, and rules her out of a return to the track at the Commonwealth Games.
Reade's 2013 season has been marred by injury, and she said: "Whilst I'm sad to temporarily move away from the GB cycling team, I'm also excited by the opportunity to race on the pro scene in America.
"My ultimate goal is to win an Olympic gold medal, and I think my move to the ABA BMX series will help achieve this. I will be racing more frequently against world-class competition and I will be able to refine my technical skills in competitive race conditions."
She added: "I'm looking forward to gaining more race experience out in America and using this in my campaign for Rio.
"British Cycling have given the decision their full backing as I continue to develop as an athlete and it is great to know I am able to return at any point in the future."
National head coach Shane Sutton said in a statement released by British Cycling: "Shanaze has British Cycling's full support to leave the programme to spend some time competing on the US circuit.
"Both I and her coach, Grant White, believe the experience she gains out there will be beneficial to her long-term Olympic ambitions.
"The door is always open to her as and when she decides to return to BMX Supercross. Shanaze has been a real asset to us over the years and she is an inspiration to youngsters which has always been great to see.
"On behalf of the GB cycling team, I'd like to thank her for what she's done for the sport of BMX and wish her the best of luck on the next part of her career."