Georgia Williams is in the form of her life with Mitchelton-Scott this year. After doing the double at elite road nationals, Williams has been on the podium at the Herald Sun Tour and Commonwealth Games, along with taking top ten results at WWT Emakumeen XXXI. Bira and most recently at Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik where Mitchelton-Scott dominated throughout. We got the chance to catch up with Williams after a dream start to the year.
Heading into the 2018 season Georgia Williams was set on making a step up in her personal results when it came to the road. “I made a goal with myself at the start of the year to get results this year. I had a year last year of just learning and being a key support rider; so I wanted to be the one getting some results this year. I’m happy with how it’s going so far,” Williams told RoadCycling.
So far the team have been nothing short of shining light in the women’s professional peloton, taking 11 wins to date; with Williams playing a starring role in the vast majority of them. Resplendent in her national champion’s colours – which she wears everywhere as both road and time trial national champion – Williams has been part of a series of great performances; most recently at Gooik-Geraardsbergen-Gooik at the end of last month where Mitchelton-Scott were so dominant that Sarah Roy and Gracie Elvin crossed the line a full 6.35mins ahead of the chase group which contained Williams.
“Going into the race we obviously wanted to win. Gracie had won the race two times before, so that helped with our confidence,” Williams said. “We had a team meeting the night before and our director left the race really open. He didn’t want to make a clear plan, he wanted everyone to have an opportunity. At about the 50k mark, the Muur was going to be a key point in deciding the race, so we knew we needed to be at the front then and just controlled it from there. Me and Gracie and [Sarah] Roy were in the top ten over the Muur and so it self-selected itself and we got Roy up the road and she got a decent gap. Then on the next climb on the Bosberg Gracie bridged across to her and it just went from there really.”
In many ways Williams is a completely different rider to the one who was juggling road and track commitments back in the days of BePink; but we wanted to know what specifically had changed for her?
“The main thing is I think I’ve just learned a lot more about the racing which helps so much obviously. When I was in BePink I was really new to it all, coming from New Zealand and jumping straight into the pro peloton is quite a step up; so I’ve learned heaps,” Williams explained. “Mainly focussing on track with the first couple of years I was with BePink, road I used as base and building my fitness for the track. So it wasn’t a high priority to get results on the road in those two years, but now focussing on the road it’s so much easier focussing on one.”
For the team a lot of their success Georgia attributes to the work that they’ve done off of the bike, sighting a recent training camp as a major boost that has catapulted the team towards the success it’s enjoyed.
“We had a team camp about [4 weeks ago] and we were all together for about a week in Valencia. We did some hard training and then we did some off-the-bike work, and after a team camp we always come out really good; and our races afterwards are always really good. I feel that, that always boosts our confidence.”
Since winning the national title, a crown that Williams has long sought and been desperately unlucky to miss out on after being second three times in the road race, our new national champion has enjoyed doing the jersey proud overseas. Williams has found herself noticed a lot more and despite being maybe slightly more marked by the riders around her the 24 year old enjoys the confidence boost that comes out of being able to don the fern every time she lines up at a start line.
Through the classics season Williams played a familiar support role, but her drive for more results this year is something that she hopes will translate into success on a personal level as the second half of the season draws near.
“I’ve been promised more opportunities this year so I’m slowly getting there which is cool,” Williams said.
“[I’ll be targeting] personal results, more the second half of the year with Tour of Norway – which is a good course that suits me – so that’ll be a big goal for me. Before that I’ve got the women’s Giro on 6th July. This is a target for me but I’ll be a support rider for Annemiek [van Vleuten]. She was so close to the win last year and we all believe she can win it this year. So I’ll be happy to support her there and then hopefully get my chance more at the end of the year.”
It’s impressive that between the Mitchelton-Scott men’s and women’s teams a total of 32 wins have been accumulated across the board. We asked Georgia if there was much time for the two teams to enjoy that success together, but sadly with different race schedules in different locations; opportunities to cross paths are few and far between.
“[There’s] not so much contact which is a bit of a shame. A little bit at the classics, we actually stayed in the same accommodation so we caught up with them a bit there but later in the year none of our races really clash and we don’t really race at the same time so it’s hard to socialise with the men’s team.”
We look forward to seeing Georgia racing the biggest stage race on the calendar at the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, running from 6th-15th July.