Alexandra cyclist Sophie Williamson was pipped in a sprint finish of the junior women's road race at the UCI world championships in the Netherlands on Saturday.
The 18-year-old finished fourth in the 80km road race, which comprised five laps of the Limburg circuit with a climb up the Cauberg Hill each lap.
It completes an outstanding month for the talented young rider from the Wakatipu club, who won two silver medals in the junior track world championships in New Zealand late last month.
Williamson, the sole New Zealander in the race, felt strong up the climb but was unable to shake loose the strong cover by the big national teams. "I felt good up the climb all day. I had a bit of a go on the fourth lap and a group of eight of us got a slight break, but it was closed down quickly. The big teams closed everything down and with five laps it was going to come down to a bunch sprint.
"Maybe if it was 10 laps it may have spat them out. I guess you have to be pretty proud after the silver medals on the track and now this, but you always want to do better."
Williamson said she had just two days off her bike following the track world championships before some long training rides, a road race in Timaru and a kermesse victory in Europe.
"At first the race was only 65km and so I didn't feel I needed to go out and smash it in training on the longer stuff, but they changed it to 80km just before the championships."
The BikeNZ rider was handy to the lead throughout the race, keeping out of the way of a number of crashes. The Great Britain squad produced the major lead-out train, promoting their sprinter Lucy Garner to the win ahead of Norway's Eline Brustad in 2:11.26.
Williamson fought hard at the finish sprint to be half a wheel from Italy's Zita Stricker for the bronze.
It completes an outstanding junior career for Williamson, who has her sights set on racing for a road team in Europe or the United States next year.
- © Fairfax NZ News