Cycling Southland's Sophie Williamson earned a top 20 finish in her first appearance at the World Juniors Road Championships in Copenhagen tonight, finishing the 70 kilometre journey in 18th place.
Williamson positioned herself comfortably in the firt 20 riders on the road for the entire race and was never far from the action but wasn't able to make an impression in the final uphill drag to the finish line which saw Great Britain's Lucy Garner take gold with an impressive sprint to the line.
The race looked over 6 kilometres to from the finish with two of Europe's top time trialists opening up a lead of over 30 seconds over the chasing peloton but somehow the two weren't able to maintain that lead and were reeled in by the chasing pack within the final kilometre.
That set up a grandstand finish with Garner winning comfortably from Belgium's Jessy Druyts and Denmark's Christina Siggaard. The first 38 riders across the line were all given the same time.
Sophie's achievement was made even more meritorious by the fact that she was forced to ride without her team-mate after New Zealand’s only other representative withdrew following a nasty crash on the first lap.
Then just hours later, older brother James rolled off the start line in the Under 23 Men’s race. He too did everything right, positioning himself expertly over 165 kilometres before getting caught behind a crash on the second to last corner.
He was forced to watch the bunch disappear as a Russian tried to remove his handlebars from James’ back wheel. To quote the man himself, “that’s good old bike racing.”
Williamson finished in 112th place 1 minute 52 down on the winner France's Arnaud Demare.