28/04/2011 - Schoolwork is taking a back seat for Alexandra's Sophie Williamson as she pursues a promising cycling career.
The year 13 Dunstan High School student was in good form on the road over Easter, winning two stages and finishing fourth overall in the women's section of the Tour de Lakes.
She went straight from that race into a training camp this week with the New Zealand junior track cycling team at the ILT Velodrome and will spend time in the United States and Switzerland before the junior world championships in Moscow in August.
It's an exciting time for Williamson, who is studying by correspondence to try and keep on top of her subjects.
University is an option next year but she also has one eye on the 2012 junior world championships, which will be staged on her home track in Invercargill.
"It's going to be a while off school – two months, and I've already missed a month. I have to a do a lot of work in the holidays but it should go alright. Hopefully I pass," she said.
Williamson is excited about heading to Trexler Town in the US, a mecca for track cyclists with its competitive local scene and super training rides on the road.
"I've talked to a few people about it and everyone said it was really cool. It's a great atmosphere, there's lots of people to ride with.
"It's a bit nicer and warmer than Alex in July and August so I'm glad about missing that month."
Williamson is not putting any pressure on herself for her first junior worlds, where she will probably ride the multi-event omnium and possibly another endurance event.
"We are just focusing on what I need to do for training at the moment."
New Zealand will send an 11-strong team to Moscow, beginning August 19.
- The Southland Times