Sophie Williamson eyes cycling nationals

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 09/01/2014
Alexandra cyclist Sophie Williamson
WINNING SMILE: Alexandra cyclist Sophie Williamson.

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Alexandra cyclist Sophie Williamson will contest her first Christchurch road nationals this weekend, but it's the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow later this year which is her main focus.

Williamson, who rides professionally with the United States-based Vanderkitten team, will spend a month at the new BikeNZ base in Cambridge in February and contest the national track championships as she looks to gain selection in the New Zealand team for the Games in July and August.

The talented rider won two silver medals on the track at the junior world championships in Invercargill in 2012.

"Hopefully I can double up on the track and the road at the Comm Games, but if not I have got a plan B to go and race with my team in the States. Either way I'll be happy, but obviously everyone wants to represent New Zealand at the Comm Games."

Vanderkitten were supportive of Williamson's Glasgow ambitions.

She enjoyed her debut season with the team in 2013.

Vanderkitten are a well-known cycling brand in the United States, with an emphasis on promoting women's cycling and it was not unusual for excited fans to come up to the riders before and after races.

"I definitely know what it's like now, and what to expect. That can only help you to prepare better. It's certainly been tough, but it's a good learning curve. The atmosphere at the races is really cool and women's cycling is really coming up. The prize money is getting bigger every year, it's probably bigger than Europe and the competition is world class."

Williamson won multiple national junior club road titles and has tasted victory in the Benchmark series, but will be riding her first senior elite national championships.

"I'm not really sure what my form is going to be like. I've been doing quite a lot of criteriums and track racing. I'll definitely try and make sure I'm there for the sprint at the end."

She was a spectator when her brother James won the men's elite title in 2012.

"I feel like I've already done the race four times, but I've actually only watched it every year. It will be interesting to see what it's like being in it."

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- The Southland Times

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