"The time has now come to start building the support network for Britain’s BMX riders who are likely to be competing in 2008," said a statement from British Cycling.
Jeremy Hayes, a rider in the 1980s with national championship wins to his credit, has worked in bike shops, gyms, sports centres as well as spending 11 years with the Territorial Army.
He was the manager of the Haro Bikes Racing Team, which he started, and more recently had a management role with the Team Persil BMX team.
Hayes Jeremy has also been involved in guiding the career of Shanaze Reade, who many expect to be a key member of the 2008 Olympic Team. He built Team Persil around Reade, who he recognised as having tremendous talent but not enough support required to turn her into a top rider.
Reade is 16 but already has world, European and national titles.
Hayes is confident that BMX can prove itself through the new GB team set-up:
"The talent’s already there in this country. We just need to get the best riders on board and get them working with proper training programmes."
Hayes doesn’t think there’s problem with BMX riders not training enough, but rather that they need to train differently: "I remember riding all day every day as a kid and I think that we’ll be asking the riders to become more specific and focussed in their training. I sometimes think that BMX is still perceived as a kids’ sport by some people, but Jamie Staff has showed what serious athletes BMX riders are."
Asked what nations are already running effective national team programmes, Hayes cites the French BMX national squad: "When you travel to the worlds and see the [French] support team, the doctors, masseurs, it’s really impressive."
Hayes has identified the Sheffield Dirt Society’s indoor BMX track, Wheelbase, as a potential training base for the team. This is the only indoor BMX track in the country.
"Wheelbase should be crucial to us, being indoor in this climate. But unlike track riders, BMX riders have to face a huge variety of tracks, so I’m keen our riders get to train on as many tracks as possible."