Georgia Williams and Team New Zealand rode the near perfect race at the Commonwealth Games, culminating in a fantastic silver medal behind Australia’s Chloe Hosking. Afterwards we caught up with Williams as she heads back to business with Mitchelton-Scott in Europe.
RC: First of all it feels like the Commonwealth Games were a bit of a case of ‘blink and it’s finished’ it seems to have gone by so quickly. For you, how was your experience of this year’s Commonwealth Games overall compared to your experience in Glasgow which was exclusively on the track?
Georgia: The Games were great this year, Australia were awesome hosts! I felt much more comfortable and confident arriving at these games to when I did in Glasgow as I feel having been to a previous Games definitely helps with knowing how everything is run within the NZ team and knowing some of the wider staff in the NZOC makes it easier. I feel like competing on the road at the Games is a lot more relaxed compared to the track. I guess there was a little less pressure also as we weren’t talked up too much as a medal chance as NZ hadn’t medal in the women’s road race in the last 20 years.
RC: You were part of a team that already boasted medals in the team pursuit – courtesy of Rushlee Buchanan and Bryony Botha – and in the time trial courtesy of Linda Villumsen. Did you go into the race as the clear protected rider and did you feel a great weight of pressure with that?
Georgia: Not really, we had a very open team plan where everyone had there point in the race where they could take there opportunity to go for a result for themselves. I had been quite sick with bronchitis a couple weeks before the race so I didn’t know how I was going to feel and didn’t want to be protected in case I couldn’t last till the end. However I was given the team captain role which added a bit of pressure as this gives the role of making the calls in the race with who does what.
RC: How did your expectations of how the road race would go compare with how it actually panned out?
Georgia: We expected the Australian’s would take control being the strongest team, which they did. This was perfect for us as they were forced to do the work and use their riders to pull back a few early attacks. This left us to sit back and focus on our plan.
RC: From watching on it looked as though Team NZ rode the near perfect race. How did you find that you functioned as a team?
Georgia: The girls were great, all really motivated and confident in the plan and each other. It’s always hard riding with a new group of girls and not knowing each other so we just had to keep the communication going.
RC: Talk us through the final few kilometres and the run up to the sprint and how you approached it.
Georgia: From 2km to go the Aussies lined up on the front and started their lead out for Chloe Hoskings. I knew she was the one to beat so I told Sharlotte to get on her wheel as she was our sprinter. Unfortunately she got gapped a bit in the last kilometre, which forced her to use a lot more energy. I had to make the quick decision to sprint myself, it all happened so fast. I was lucky Dani Rowe went early as it was a strong headwind to the line which caught her out and I could just sneak in for 2nd. I was shocked when I crossed the line. I’m not normally a sprinter and can’t remember the last time a had to do a bunch sprint but guess I found something extra.
RC: All in all how happy are you with taking your first major championship medal?
Georgia: Still so happy! My biggest result of my career so far. It was even more special to hear that it was the first medal NZ has got on the road for 20 years! I really hope this lifts women’s cycling in NZ.
RC: What are you targeting from here now that you’re back with your Mitchelton-Scott team?
Georgia: I’m straight back into it racing Liege-Bastogne-Liege this weekend, the last Ardennes Classic. I will be full support role for my team mates. I then have a month of training including a team training camp in Valencia before Emakumeen Euskal Bira on the 19th of May. This is a target race for me. It’s a 4 day tour in The Basque Country region, a 20km TT and 3 road stages.