Lucy Garner (England) is about to embark on her first Commonwealth Games and will be supporting her teammate, and race favourite, Lizzie Armitstead in the road race this weekend.
The Games are only Garner’s second major international race since turning professional last season and she wants to make the most of it. “I’m just taking the whole experience in and getting ready for Sunday,” she told Cyclingnews.
“It’s amazing. As a junior I rode the junior Commonwealth Games but it is a little bit different. To make the step up to the senior team is really cool. We’re doing good training, but it’s nice to feel the buzz from all the other athletes in the village.”
England have come to the race with a line-up that includes four Olympic Gold medallists. Joining Garner and Armitstead will be Laura Trott – who won gold earlier in the Games - Emma Pooley, Dani King and Hannah Barnes. “We’ve got a really strong team, all types of riders that so that we can mix it up a bit. It’s going to be hard, but we’re really going for the gold.
“We’re going to do as much as we can. We don’t know the exact tactics yet but this is a main goal for Lizzie and we’re all in really good shape to help her.”
At 19, Garner is the youngest member of the team, but she comes with an impressive palmarès. She is only the second rider, after fellow British rider Nicole Cooke, to win the junior world road race two years on the trot. She turned professional with Argos-Shimano at the beginning of last season and took her first victory in the opening stage of the 2013 Tour of Chongming Island. This year has seen her consistently make it into the top five at races and Garner is happy with her progression this season.
“My first year was so tough, mentally and physically it was so tough. I stuck at it and really trained hard over the winter. I feel like I’ve found my place in the women’s peloton now. I’ve had a few podiums this season already, so I’m really pleased to be able to mix it up. I’m really happy with my second year. Hopefully it just gets better.”
The pressure will be on the English team with Armistead expected to be in the mix for a gold medal, after she took victory on the same course in 2013. However, Garner believes that her teammate is more than up to the task.
“The way that she won the British champs last year was just incredible. If she can repeat that performance, which I’m sure that she’s more than capable of doing, then I’m sure that she will be coming back with a gold.”