Lucy Garner: "I Thought The Race Was Over, Then I Was World Champion"
Newly crowned World Champion Lucy Garner (read our Race Report) has revealed there were three times she believed her bid to wear the rainbow jersey was over, but thanks to a strong team it was possible to regroup and take the most prestigious win of an already promising career.
Britain's first women's junior road race World Champion since Nicole Cooke in 2001, Garner's race included a combination of bad luck, desperation and near-misses, only to be completely overshadowed by a sprint reminiscent of role-model Cooke.
Speaking after the race, an overwhelmed Garner spoke of a crash in the opening stages of the race, which forced her to chase back to the peloton alone.
"When I crashed, I had to chase back on and I was alone for a long time. I thought it was over, that I would be too tired to do anything else. Even when I got back into the group I was nearly off the back again. I really struggled to stay with them - but the girls were amazing.
"By the time I had recomposed myself and settled into the bunch there were two riders up the road with a big lead and in my mind the race for gold was over - that is what prompted me to attack off of the front with eight kilometres left to race, I had nothing to lose."
However, Garner's attack had a critical effect on the bunch, with Denmark taking up the chase and coming into the final drag to the line the race was back together and headed for a bunch sprint.
Now in twentieth, Garner had to fight through the pack in another effort to take something from a race ten minutes earlier, she believed was over.
"I couldn't believe it. Up the hill I remembered I had to wait, a lot of other riders were going but I had to wait for the right moment. Then, when I attacked, I tangled with another girl. First I thought it was race over, I thought I was going to crash again.
"It was a weird sprint; by the time realised I was free I had almost stopped. I had to attack again. That's when I sprinted hard. I looked round and nobody was there, I had to celebrate, then rode it to the line. It was amazing.
"The fact I'd won only felt real on the podium, all the emotions came out, I'd never experienced anything like it. The crowds, the atmosphere, I was overcome with emotion and just started crying. It was the perfect birthday present, only a few days late."
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