Cycling: Lucy Garner thrilled to be making professional debut
Lucy Garner, the double world junior champion from Cosby, is set to make her professional debut with Team Argos-Shimano at the Het Nieuwsblad race in Belgium on Saturday. I caught up with the Mercury's Young Sportswoman of 2012 at her new base in the Netherlands as she put the final touches to her preparations.
PJ: Your first professional road race is almost here. Are you ticking off the days?
LG: Yes! It feels like it has been forever since I last raced. The winter has been so long doing so much training. I feel ready to race now.
I did a training race in Holland on Sunday and I felt pretty good, and that has given me a bit of confidence for this weekend, which is going to be really hard.
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When you train you have a different head on to when you race, so getting prepared on Sunday, to go out and compete again, was really good, even if it was only training.
How do you feel you have settled into life as a professional?
I'm enjoying it – it's a good life doing something I like doing. I couldn't be in a better place.
It would have been hard for me to live at home, training to do races and then travelling every week. That isn't good for you.
You took a lengthy break at the end of the 2012 season. How important was that?
Once I had done the world championships in September, I wasn't aiming for anything else so you go from one day wanting something so badly to the next day feeling like you have got nothing to do.
You do need that time off, when you don't even look at a bike, to do something a bit more normal. Every cyclist will tell you that.
It is important to step away then, when it comes to the time to train and race, you are ready again.
It was a hard year, too. Because you are wearing the world champion's jersey people look at you and expect you to do well in every single race. That is the hardest thing.
Even if it is a training race you still have to be the best. So I felt I had to be consistent all through the year.
How do you feel physically now compared to how you have been at this time in the last couple of years?
I've done four training camps in Spain with the Argos-Shimano team, so that is like a month of being away. It is the hardest winter I have had with the amount of work that I have put in.
It has to be done because of the racing coming up. I think it has paid off because, in that training race, I did feel fitter than I had been before.
When you are training for so long you don't know where you stand against anyone. So to do that race at this time, and test myself, was good.
What goals have the team set you for this year?
I'm so new to it that we will see how things are as we go into each race. There will always be a plan within the team but I think it is a case of me getting stuck in and helping out.
I know I won't be winning races at this point but, if I can help one of our team members win, then we all get the same sort of credit. My time will come if I keep working and training.