Garner back in the spotlight

17 September 2012 / 15:19

Twelve months ago Great Britain's annus mirabilis on bikes began not with Bradley Wiggins or Mark Cavendish, but with a Leicestershire teenager who this week will ride in defence of her world champion's rainbow jersey in Holland.

Lucy Garner won the women's junior road race title at the World Championships in Copenhagen last September, just a few days before Cavendish claimed a rainbow jersey of his own as part of a year which featured Wiggins becoming the first British Tour de France winner and multiple successes in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"I cannot believe how quick the year has gone," the 17-year-old from Cosby said. "It has been amazing to be able to wear the jersey. It was a dream. Even if (defending the title) doesn't happen or if I don't get the result I want, it's been such a positive year for me and I've progressed so much."

Garner, who last month became European road race champion in Goes, Holland, thrives in the bunch sprints Cavendish also favours and admits she has work to do on her climbing ability. The finish of Friday's 65-kilometre race is more than a kilometre from the summit of the final climb, giving her a chance to overcome any deficit.

Garner, who honed preparations at a south Wales training camp, said: "I've done the training for it and I'm going to be on form, but it's a totally different course to what I'm used to racing. It's not suited for me, but I'll give it my best shot."

Garner's grandparents raced bikes and her father, Neil, has four penny farthings at home and presented his daughter with one for her eighth birthday.

Garner, whose younger sister Grace is also in the British Cycling set-up, admits it was an eccentric beginning to her life in the sport, but believes being on the high saddle helped with balance now required during races.

Garner added: "There are no brakes and you're so high up. It's definitely made me more confident when I'm riding in the bunch and it helps you to control your bike better."

Garner appears to be the latest world-beating talent on the British Cycling production line and she will, in four years time, be seeking to emulate Laura Trott and Lizzie Armitstead as Olympic medallists.

Garner added: "There are so many good British women riders it's hard to get into the mix with them, but I'm looking forward to the years coming."