Britain's leading women's team Halfords Bikehut has strengthened its squad with new signing Sharon Laws. The 33-year old, who has returned to the United Kingdom after working in South Africa and Australia, will ride her first major race for the Team at Flèche Wallonne on April 23.
Like compatriots Rebecca Romero and Shanaze Reade, Laws is a recent convert to her new discipline. Her background is in adventure racing and enduro mountain biking, and in 2004 she won the grueling eight-day Cape Epic mountain bike race in South Africa.
"This is a fantastic opportunity" commented Laws. "When I was in Australia I actually spent more time in an aeroplane than on the ground, let alone riding a bike. Being able to concentrate on my riding is a dream come true."
Following some professional coaching Laws' road career began to take off, finishing runner-up to High Road's Oenone Wood at the Australian National Championships. Laws followed up this result with 23rd place in the Tour of Geelong and 10th place in the Tour of New Zealand. Laws is a strong contender to join team mate Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley as the third rider in the Olympic road race.
"Great Britain now has the potential to be one of the strongest teams on the start line in Beijing," commented British Cycling's Dave Brailsford. "Nicole and Sharon will race together as team-mates throughout the season, and Emma will also join them for races like the Tour de l'Aude. Should Sharon get that third berth it would put the team in a very strong position compared to squads that only come together just before the Olympics."
Sharon's first race for Halfords Bikehut will be this coming weekend, when she joins team mates Catherine Hare and Jess Allen at the Abergavenny Road Club Spring Handicap. "To get a pro contract is a dream come true" said Laws. "To be spoken about as a possible for the GB Olympic team is a lot to take in. There are a lot of very experienced riders competing for that third berth, so for the moment I'm concentrating on doing a good job for Halfords Bikehut."