US team snaps up rising NZ star

Last updated 13:00 14/12/2012

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Alexandra cyclist Sophie Williamson has signed with United States professional team Vanderkitten Racing.

Vanderkitten started in 2005 with the aim of promoting women's sport and seeking equal opportunities for women. The team has fellow New Zealanders Kate Chilcott and Emily Collins on its books.

Williamson, 18, has continued to make a strong impression as she graduates from the junior ranks after a big final year that included two silver medals at the junior world championships on the track and a fourth-place finish on the road.

After performing well at the Festival of Cycling in Christchurch, she won the overall title at the New South Wales Grand Prix with third and fourth-place finishes in the two races.

Her brother, James, the current New Zealand road champion, has also signed with an overseas team after riding with PureBlack Racing.

He will be with British-based Node4 next season thanks to a connection with his former PureBlack team-mate Mike Northey, who won last month's Tour of Southland with Node4.

Olympic Games team pursuit bronze medallist Aaron Gate was also in good form at the NSW Grand Prix, claiming third place overall.

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- The Nelson Mail

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