Hucknall car giants drive Olympic cyclists to Rio

ON THE ROAD TO RIO -- David Fletcher (left) and BMX world champion Liam Phillips

ON THE ROAD TO RIO -- David Fletcher (left) and BMX world champion Liam Phillips

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A car dealership in Hucknall is the new driving force behind two Team GB cyclling hopefuls as they gear up for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

In a major sponsorship deal, Sandicliffe Nissan, of Portland Road, has supplied world champion BMX racer Liam Phillips (25) with a stunning, all-new Nissan Quashqai car.

And it has also handed Clipstone-based mountain-bike cross-country hopeful David Fletcher (25) a stylish Nissan Juke machine.

The models will be a huge boost to Phillips and Fletcher as they build up their preparations for the Brazilian Games.

They both travel thousands of miles a year in the course of their training and competition schedules, often carrying a huge haul of equipment, including bikes.

Collecting the keys to his new car, a delighted Phillips was clear just how much of an impact it will have as he seeks to put behind him the heartache of crashing out of the BMX final at the London Olympics in 2012.

“Having the Qashqai is massive for me,” he said. “The fact that I don’t have to worry about a car and a car breaking down will be a huge help.

“For an athlete, the knowledge that you have a safe, comfortable and reliable car to use takes a big weight off your shoulders and just allows you to focus on your training.”

Added Phillips, who hails from Taunton in Somerset: “Having the support of Sandicliffe Nissan at Hucknall is amazing. I’m really grateful to have their backing.”

Fletcher, who was Britain’s under-23 mountain-bike champion in 2009, is also delighted with his new car. He said: “Rio is a huge focus for me, but it’s really hard to find proper sponsors that will help you out and give you the time and equipment you need to perform well -- whether that be a bike, a car or something else.

“Having the Juke is massive for me. It helps me to get to training sessions and to racing. Driving to the race in a comfortable car that you know is reliable is one less stress off your mind.”

Dean Radford, dealer principal at Sandicliffe Nissan, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to support Liam and David on the road to Rio, and I’m sure they will love their new cars.

“Everyone at the dealership is behind the lads, knowing that we are playing some part in them achieving goals and, hopefully, pedalling to gold in Rio. It’s a real source of pride for us all.”

The partnership between the Hucknall dealership and the Olympians was formed through Nissan’s role as the official automotive partner of Team GB for the 2016 Games.

As part of this, Nissan has launched the #UniteAndExcite campaign, which will provide fans with exclusive news of how Nissan’s innovative technology could improve performance.