Interview – Liam Killeen


Malvern’s Olympic off road hero Liam Killeen came back from no-where to finish second at Shrewsbury – VeloUK spoke to him

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Interview – Liam Killeen

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A popular star at the National Trophy in Shrewsbury on Sunday was Olympic mountain biker Liam Killeen who is also a very dab hand at cyclo-cross. Four times he has finished second in the British Cyclo-Cross title race although he’s more known for his mountain biking. He won the British title for five years in a row between 2008 and 2012.


Way back in 2004, Liam was 7th in the Athens Olympics (MTB) and then 5th in 2008 (Beijing) before crashing out of the event in London. As Ian Field described him in his interview, Killeen is ‘absolute quality’ and his performance at Shrewsbury was just that.

He was almost a minute behind Ian Field the first time up the hurdles with at least eighteen riders between him and the British champion. VeloUK caught up with him post race at Shrewsbury for quick chat with Liam who admitted that Shrewsbury was the last Trophy race he did before 2012 got underway.

He added how with it being not far from home and good weather, it is a great event to do and how it proved to be a challenging one. “I wasn’t gridded on the front row so didn’t have the best of first laps but I have done a few cross races the last four or five weeks so I got stuck in and tried to keep it smooth”.

“I was a little bit worried about Jody (Crawforth of Hargroves Cycles Ridley) on that last lap so I tried to save a little bit for that last half lap. Ian had a good lead so I was really racing for second place but it’s been a nice day”.


“I did enjoy it. I was a little worried after that first lap because I could see a long line of riders ahead of me but I’m confident on this course and knew I could duck and dive and grab a wheel here and there and it turned out okay”.

Asked what plans he had for the future, he replied “I haven’t got any as far as teams go in the next twelve months but I’m doing a lot of coaching with my local club and it’s great to see some good younger riders coming through. I am trying to keep myself fit after having two winters disrupted hugely with injury but in the last few months, I have been a lot more confident in my riding and hopefully if this winter goes well, I’ll at least be able to perform at National level.”

“In terms of cyclo-cross, I’m probably just going to take a bit of a break and maybe get the cross bike out in December and hopefully do the National Champs. I kind of got my eye on the mountain bike season though”.

Asked if Rio 2016 Olympics is on his radar, he says “a few people ask me that! It’s eighteen months away and a lot can happen in that time. If I can build on my form, who knows. I have a lot of experience in mountain biking when it comes to those big championships, and in those, experience does count for a lot”.


As its Throwback Thursday, here’s one of Liam on the top step after winning the MTB title in the 2006 Commonwealth Games with Oli Beckingsale on the left (Silver)

Liam then admitted the races have changed over the years he’s been doing mountain biking. “The races are slightly different now. Slightly shorter and that means there are more guys that can be at the front of the race”.

“Before it used to be a lot longer and it was a battle of attrition and the top 10 ten came from a natural selection. Now, the racing is more like cyclo-cross, the courses are shorter and it means if you’re not there on the first lap, it’s pretty hard to make up time especially if you have a 150 riders in the race”.

Good luck to Liam and fingers crossed he has a injury free time between now and Rio

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