Cycling: Garner more than holds her own against world stars
Lucy Garner is quickly finding her feet in the high-paced world of continental professional cycling.
In her most recent appearance, the Cosby teenager, racing for Team Argos Shimano, claimed eighth at the hotly-contested Drenthe 8 in Holland.
However, it is the company she found herself sharing for the final sprint which highlights the quality of her performance.
At the end of a crash-strewn 140km race, Garner was battling with the likes of world and Olympic champion Marianne Vos and Italy's former double world champion Giorgia Bronzini, two riders with vast experience at the highest level.
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At 18, twice world junior champion Garner is just launching her pro career, but if she can get close to that quality of rider now, there is every reason to be encouraged for the future.
"I quite surprised myself," said the national circuit race champion. "It was a tough race but I knew I had a sprint in me at the end.
"It is totally different to what I have been used to, though. The pace was already high when we came to the sprint.
"I was getting out of the saddle but not really going much faster! It was only afterwards that I thought about who was in the sprint.
"It was a good feeling because before the race I didn't know how I could do against them. I was really happy with what I did."
She added: "The racing over here is good. Different courses will suit me – and that one did suit me. But I'm liking it and feel I'm settling in well."
While Lucy sets about establishing herself in the pro peloton, her younger sister, Grace, continues to work her way nicely up the cycling ladder.
After a winter that has seen her produce some excellent rides on the track, including a sharp 200m time-trial and a speedy flying lap at a Talent Team training camp last weekend, Grace launches her road season as she dons national colours this weekend in Holland and Belgium.
It is the national youth pursuit champion's second year on British Cycling's development squad and, while the work she has put in on the boards has been good, she is keen to transfer that to the road, where she is a noted sprinter in her own right.
The weekend double-header on the continent marks a first for Charlotte Broughton.
She has also shone on the track this winter, her first with Talent Team, and has just clocked a pursuit personal best. She will be in road action alongside Grace, her fellow Countesthorpe College student, in Holland and Belgium.
Drag2zero's Matt Bottrill proved he can still cut it as a road racer as he won a 35-mile event at Darley Moor.
The Whitwick man is best known as a time-trial rider these days and had not ridden a road race for 18 months before the 22 laps at Darley Moor.
In the wet conditions, Bottrill and Carl Dyson (Clay Cross RT) cut out the pace, but Dyson dropped back 10 laps out.
Bottrill took his lead to 30 seconds and although Dyson chased, he could not close the gap.