Teenager Georgia Williams heads to her first European cycling experience buoyed in the knowledge her elevation to the elite ranks has met with considerable success over the summer.
The Auckland rider will join crack Italian professional team Be Pink this month, spending seven months with the Milan-based outfit.
Williams, 19, completed her individual racing at the national track cycling championships with a brace of podium performances to seal an outstanding second summer in the elite division.
She was seventh in the women’s 10km scratch race on the third night of finals at the Stadium Southland Velodrome in Invercargill tonight. It follows two podium placings on the first two nights, while she was the most aggressive rider in the scratch race, with two strong solo breaks.
Williams won silver medals behind Olympians Jaime Neilsen in the elite 3000m individual pursuit and Lauren Ellis in the 20km points race.
It completed an outstanding summer that began with victory in the New Zealand elite criterium national championships on home turf in December.
She followed this with third place in the elite 25km time trial behind Linda Villumsen and Nielsen and second in the same time as the winner in the elite road race at the national road championships in Christchurch last month.
“It’s been a really good summer. I am rapt to tell the truth,” Williams said. “Last summer was my first in elite racing but I wasn’t in form.
“It is hard to go from road racing to track and I am really happy that I’ve managed to get some success at both.
“To tell the truth I am unsure how I have done it. But I am pretty happy. I have the team pursuit tomorrow so hopefully we can win that one.
“Then it is a case of getting organised to go to Italy.”
She has received some tips from Kaytee Boyd who rode for the same Italian team three years ago, then Selle Italia-Ghezzi.
“I think I will be the only non-Italian rider so that part might be challenging but I rode with Kaytee recently and she has helped me with some advice.
"Lots of the girls are quite a bit older than me and are really experienced so I'll be able to learn off them which will be good and I'll be doing all the top UCI races in Europe as well.
"It's something I've always wanted to do but I kind of expected to race in America for the next few years first; going straight to Europe is just awesome because that's where all the best cycling is.''
She has enjoyed some overseas success, winning a silver medal in the team pursuit at the 2010 junior world championships, and has her sights set on selection on the track for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“The track is my real goal at present and I am setting my sights on the Rio Olympics for sure. I would love to be in the team pursuit in 2016.”