Gymnastics - Whitlock set to push himself to the limit

Max Whitlock insists he will have the future in mind when he attempts one of the hardest pommel horse routines around at this weekend's Challenge Cup in Anadia, Portugal.

Gymnastics - Whitlock looks back on another year to remember

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England's Max Whitlock (PA Photos)

The double Olympic bronze medallist is busy plotting his assault on the Rio 201 Games and is already putting in the ground work with a new routine.

Whitlock's new routine will have a difficulty start score of 7.3 and could earn him a mark of 16.3 – the previous highest to date being a 7.1 by London 2012 silver medallist Louis Smith and a 16.066 by Hungarian Krisztian Berki in winning Olympic gold in the capital last summer respectively.

And 20-year-old Whitlock believes that by taking a leap of faith now he will be better equipped to climb the top step of the podium further down the line.

"I've competed against Berki a few times and he's shown what it takes to be an Olympic gold medallist, so I look at him and realise that's what it takes," he said.

"That's why I am trying something this difficultly in a World Cup competition to start with because, if I can get it right, it could be important for me in the future major competitions. You have to be ambitious to compete at the very top level.

"I've made the routine 16 times in practice over the past two weeks which I am really happy with. But it's pretty exhausting. Now I’m just looking forward to trying it out in competition."

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