British rider wins gold in first junior year
Both Lucy Garner and her coach praised the British Olympic Development Programme in helping the 17-year-old claim gold in the junior women’s road race at the UCI World Championships in Copenhagen.
Garner took out a perfectly timed sprint to win by several bike lengths after what had been almost two hours of frantic junior women’s racing.
"I didn’t expect this. The team worked really hard and I couldn’t have asked for more from the team," Garner said at the finish.
"They put in early attacks and I was just trying to keep sheltered during the whole race. On the last lap there were still two riders away but I did try and give it a go but it all came back together."
Garner joined the Olympic Development Programme (ODP) back in October of last year, having been part of a British Talent Team for the past two seasons. Despite being in her first year of junior competition she has seamlessly made the step up and won a number of domestic races, as well as the road race at the recent Youth Commonwealth Games.
"It’s been incredible. Training with the ODP especially. We went to the Youth Commonwealth Games a few weeks ago and we did a lot of training for Worlds which was really good. It was on the Isle of Man and it got is really ready for this race," she said.
"The whole team itself, we’re all friends, and we all trust each other and tell each other how we’re feeling in the race. They did an incredible amount of work out there."
Matt Winston, who coaches Garner, told Cyclingnews that the ODP has been a integral part of Garner’s development as a rider
"We’ve done a lot of preparation for the Worlds. Being with that group, and there are six girls on the ODP at the moment, they all work hard and there’s a great spirit within the team. It’s been pretty instrumental in Lucy’s and all the girls development. We’ll keep working on that and the key fundamentals going forward," he said.
Garner has also made use of the Worlds’s new format, which for the first time has the junior women race at the same event as the elite and U23 riders. It has allowed the inexperienced juniors to mix with the likes of Bradley Wiggins, Emma Pooley and Mark Cavendish. The influence has clearly rubbed off on Garner.
"It’s been really good. We’ve been out for a couple of rides with the women and they’ve been really helpful and encouraging. I was in the lift with Bradley and he’s genuinely a nice guy and you can have a normal conversation with him.
"I do get quite nervous before a race but they’re there and they help you relax and you’ve just got to take everything in and hope for the best."