Friday night is going to be a dramatic one for one particular Cycling Southland family as James and sister Sophie Williamson both line up at the start-line, representing their country at the World Road Championships in Copenhagen.
With parents Martyn and Liz in attendance, Sophie is the first to start at 7.30pm Friday (NZ time) in the Under 19 Women's Road race hoping to achieve a rare double following her medal winning performance last month at the Junior Track Worlds. Then just a few hours later, older brother Jimmy will roll off the line in the Under 23 Mens race.
James and Sophie both took some time out from final preparations to share a few thoughts on the eve of the Williamson's big day.
I am really looking forward to the race on Friday. It has been a long time coming for me. As my last year in the U23 category, I am really motivated to make the most of this opportunity. It has been a really enjoyable year with the PureBlack Racing team in America, we had a lot of great results and good times. I had an unfortunate crash halfway through the season and broke my wrist so missed out on a couple of the last races in America so it was a really big goal of mine to make it to the worlds and finish off the year well. I have spent the last month racing the kermese circuit in Belgium to get back some race speed. I was living at the BikeNZ house where my sister and the rest of the junior team was based for their buildup. It was a good atmosphere at the house with a good mix of people and everyone looking forward to a big week here in Copenhagen.
It was pretty cool to get to hang out with Soph while she was overseas on her first big worlds trip. She did well to medal at the track worlds and the road race here should suit her as well.
Our road race is at 1:30pm (11.30pm NZ time) on Friday, with my sister doing the junior girls race in the morning (7.30pm NZ time). It is 168km around a 14.5km circuit in the streets of Copenhagen's suburbs. It is a fast and technical course with a few little rollers and then a decent uphill drag to the finish. The U23 team is myself, Tom David and George Bennett. It is a strong team and although there are only three of us when some countries have up to seven, we should be able to cover most scenarios and hopefully have all of us together towards the business end of the race.
Mum and Dad have made the trip over to hang out and watch the racing which is nice, especially since I have been away from home since March!
It will be a big day on Friday!
The big day is finally here! I've had a good few easy days and a had a spin today on the course with a few wee wind outs.
The course is pretty cool, pretty much no flat easy sections though always a false flat. There are two short pinches and one has the finish at the top so it will make for an interesting finish.
There are 70 odd starters for my race, NZ is one of the last ranked countries so we'll get the last call up to the line so we'll have to try and hustle our way up to the front pretty quick as the course is technical and being at the front is going to be crucial.
I am looking forward to it all though! My first big road race with hopefully many more to come. My race will start at 7.30pm nz time on Friday and you can watch it live here:
Sorry, but you'll probably have to put up with the British commentators talking up their riders, but it would be cool to know that you guys are all supporting us from home!
My bro James is racing only a few hours after I finish as well and that will be a really exciting race to watch ... I'd say worth a late night!
Well that's all from me - going to go and get a good sleep and tomorow let's show them how good Kiwis go. We're already off to a good start.
Catch you on the flipside