Williamson ‘overwhelmed’ following race return three years after career-threatening crash

Victoria Williamson, right, and Lusia Steele on the podium at the 2019 HSBC UK National Track Champi

Victoria Williamson, right, and Lusia Steele on the podium at the 2019 HSBC UK National Track Championships in Manchester after winning bronze in the women's team sprint Picture: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com - Credit: Alex Broadway/SWpix.com

Norfolk's cycling star Victoria Williamson says she feels 'overwhelmed' to have returned to race action on the track, three years after the horror crash that left her elite career hanging by a thread.

The 25-year-old – originally from Hevingham but now based in Manchester – fractured her neck and back, dislocated her pelvis and sustained a deep cut to her right flank, during a crash while racing in Rotterdam in January 2016, causing her to miss the 2016 Olympics.

It's been a long battle back to fitness for the former Norwich High School for Girls pupil but she is now back in the competitive saddle.

Teaming up with Olympic bronze medallist Katy Marchant for the women's team sprint at the UCI Track Cycling World Cup meeting in Hong Kong on Friday, the pair finished 14th in qualifying, 1.154 seconds off the leading time, missing out on a place in the first round.

But Sunday brought a bronze medal at the National Track Championships in Manchester, winning the third-place ride-off in the women's team sprint alongside Lusia Steele, representing the Black Line team.

'What a week!' Williamson posted on her Instagram account. 'My World Cup return in Hong Kong with the legend Katy Marchant, followed by 24 hours rest and then the National Champs in Manchester with Lusia Steele.

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'Hong Kong didn't go to plan, making some technical mistakes but so happy to be back.

'Overwhelmed by everyone's support and the opportunity from British Cycling to be on the world stage again.'

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Williamson won bronze at the 2013 Track World Championships in Belarus, alongside Becky James in the team sprint, and has had to work incredibly hard to regain her full physical strength – so much so that her impressive fitness regimes on social media have led to her becoming an ambassador for global sportswear brand Under Armour.

The determined former European U23 silver medallist spoke to the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News in March 2016 after four weeks in hospital, while still on crutches and wearing a neck brace as she spent time back in Norfolk recuperating with family and friend – and vowed she would return.

'It's just a case of they (British Cycling) believe in me and I believe in myself and then that's half the battle with getting back from an injury,' Williamson said at the time.

'I think they know I'm not one to give up. I think I proved that with my hospital stay. They were joking 'only you would be out so early, they said three months!'.

'The psychologist came to see me a few times and said 'you don't even need seeing, you've got it all under control'.'

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