Shanaze began her career on the BMX track aged 10 and by the time she was 17 she was Britain’s number one women’s rider, having competed in the elite men’s category throughout the British series to improve her skills. International success followed with Shanaze being crowned world champion in every year she has competed from 2006 – 2008. In the 2008 UCI BMX World Championships she stormed away from the competition in the finals and took the world title by several lengths.
Shanaze later took up track cycling to keep fit for BMX racing, but her power and strength worked well in the velodrome and she was selected to for the role of lead-out rider in the women’s team sprint with Victoria Pendleton and together they won world titles in 2007 and 2008.
The Beijing 2008 Olympic Games saw Shanaze compete in the inaugural BMX competition. She started as favourite for the women’s title, but crashed out on the last bend in the final as she tried to overtake the eventual winner Anne-Caroline Chausson. However, her win-at-all-costs approach and aggressive style won her many admirers.
The 2009 season saw Shanaze unable to defend her world BMX title following an operation on her injured shoulder, but in 2010 she was back to full strength and regained the title in a victory which, in her words, “was the victory which marked my return and I found that very emotional.”
In 2011, Shanaze won the Olympic test event in London as well as becoming the first BMX time trial world champion, winning the silver medal in the same event in 2012.
Shanaze crashed out in the supercross world championship, but returned for the London 2012 Olympic Games and qualified for the final, however a bad start ended her hopes for a medal and she eventually finished sixth.
Shanaze started the 2013 season on form, winning both rounds of the UEC European BMX Series in France. She then went on to take the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup series opener by storm, winning the TT Super Final and backing that up the next day by winning every round including the final to take the gold medal at her home track in Manchester.