What a year for Norfolk’s British Cycling track starlet Victoria Williamson
It was a superb summer of medals for Norwich track cycling starlet Victoria Williamson – even by her own high standards.
The 18-year-old Norwich High School for Girls pupil's supreme form saw her take two national junior titles in Manchester before adding three European silvers, and then a silver and bronze at the World Junior Championships in Moscow last month.
Add to that two national records and Williamson – ranked number two junior in the world – is proving exactly why British Clycling plucked her from City of Norwich Athletic Club and handed her a bike almost three years ago.
'It's not too bad for one season,' smiled Williamson, who took world silver in the 500 time-trial and bronze in the sprint. 'I would have wanted to have done better at the start of the year, that's just my natural instinct. I want to win.
'But I still would have been pleased with what I've done; I can't complain.
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'Our taper was designed for us to go a lot faster at the Worlds, so I felt good at the Euros in Portugal but felt there was a more to come.
'I got some good racing in and picked up on a lot of points I could work on for Moscow, and I was able to not make the same mistakes in Russia.
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'But the step up from Euros to Worlds was quite big. I did feel a lot more pressure, the track was longer and wider, the banking was a lot higher – and the atmosphere was really good too.
'Even though it's not your home country you still feel a lot of adrenaline because there are a lot of people watching.'
Hevingham's Williamson – whose cycling journey has been backed by Norfolk Community Foundation, SportsAid, Bernard Matthews and Broadland District Council as well as her parents – also took in the Senior National Championships in Manchester at the end of September, where she took excellent bronze medals in the women's sprint and keirin along with sixth in the 500m time trial.
That tournament effectively put to bed Williamson's season – meaning focus can shift towards 2012.
A berth at the London Olympics looks unlikely, with only one place available and Victoria Pendleton the obvious obstacle.
But Williamson – who is set to be awarded a full-time place on British Cycling's academy programme in Manchester this month – is looking beyond London to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 and Rio Olympics in 2016, as well as back to her first cycling forays.
'At first I carried on doing a little bit of cycling and athletics because I wasn't sure whether I wanted to fully make the switch – but now I can't even imagine running down the road,' said Williamson. 'It's completely different and I'm definitely glad I made the switch – and I'm glad I got found, more to the point.'