Victoria Williamson says watching Great Britain teammate Becky James become a double world champion on the track was ‘an inspiration’ and has furthered her own desire to win more medals.
The 19-year-old British Cycling Academy Programme rider took bronze with James in the team sprint at her track cycling world championships debut in Belarus last week.
James went on to become the star of the competition, crowned double world champion in the sprint and keirin disciplines as part of a four-medal haul at the Minsk Arena.
For Williamson, who has only been based with the British Cycling Academy in Manchester since last summer, witnessing James’ dominance at track cycling’s biggest annual meeting has fuelled her aspirations.
“It’s an inspiration to see someone who I train with do so well and hopefully I can contest against her next time,” Williamson said.
“[The worlds] are a massive learning curve. From everything from tactics to controlling nerves and that kind of thing, it’s been a massive experience. I’ve managed to enjoy it as well."
“It’s a competitive atmosphere but at the same time we’re all striving to be the best so it’s a really good atmosphere.”
A former athlete who switched to cycling at the age of 15, Williamson was called up for the event as a replacement for Olympian Jess Varnish who was ruled out with a back injury.
On top of a medal, she set a new personal best in the flying 200m sprint qualifying, exiting in the 1/16 finals in the sprint before going out at the first round repechage stage in Sunday’s keirin.
“They [coaches Iain Dyer and Jan van Eijden] have just been really pleased with my physical performance,” said Williamson, a silver medallist behind James in the sprint, keirin and 500m time-trial events at the 2012 British Track Championships.
“Obviously I am young and I’ve still been able to contest with some of the older riders and I’ve been up there and finished reasonably well so they’re pleased.”
A Majorca road training camp at the end of April is the next focus for Williamson, who Great Britain head coach Shane Sutton believes can provide healthy competition to James and Varnish for Olympic spots.
Along with up-and-coming talents Dannielle Khan and Rosie Blount, Great Britain have a number of exciting female sprint prospects within the ranks.
“It’s a competitive atmosphere but at the same time we’re all striving to be the best so it’s a really good atmosphere,” Williamson said.
“I do like the head to head and the team sprint preferably but I’m just enjoying everything still,” she added on which disciplines she favours.
Khan is currently in her second year on the British Cycling Olympic Development Programme and is British junior sprint champion whilst first year Academy rider Blount won the 500m time-trial at the same event.
“It’s good for Jess and Becky to have that little bit of upward pressure from Vicky and there are a couple of girls in the pipeline that will be travelling on the next training camp that are very talented,” Great Britain head coach Shane Sutton said.
“They have all got to keep looking over their shoulder. No one in this environment is safe because the talent pool is so big at the moment.”