Lucy Garner Interview: “It’s going to be different, but it’s going to be good”
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Friday, December 07, 2012

Lucy Garner Interview: “It’s going to be different, but it’s going to be good”

by Ben Atkins at 4:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, World Championships
 
Double World junior champion can’t wait to turn professional for Argos-Shimano in 2013

lucy garner

Lucy Garner (Node4-Giordana) will take the big step up into the professional European peloton in 2013, as she joins Dutch team Argos-Shimano. The sprinter from Leicester took her second junior road race the day after her 18th birthday this year, after Great Britain teammate Elinor Barker - who’d won the junior time trial title just three days before - held the front group together on the final climb of the Cauberg.

While she made the final sprint to the line in Limburg look as easy as it had been in Copenhagen the year before, Garner is under no illusions as to the task ahead of her as she makes the step up to the Argos-Shimano team.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she smiled. “The main reason I chose that team was because they’re so keen on developing younger riders, and that’s exactly what I need going up into the senior ranks. It’s like being a beginner; it’s so different racing to the junior ranks; it’s just going to be completely different.

“Bigger field, longer races, faster pace, so I think that’s the main thing,” she explained. “Not really to say ‘right, you’ve got to win this,’ you need to just get used to it - to get the experience - and then, in the future, you can start thinking about results.”

In 2012 Garner became only the second woman in history to successfully defend her World junior title; following in the footsteps of fellow Briton Nicole Cooke (2000/01). Whether she will be able to reach the heights attained by the Welshwoman in her career remains to be seen.

“I’ve not really thought about it, because we are different riders at the end of the day,” Garner said. “The courses were different from when she won and I won, but I’d love to be able to; to be an Olympic champion would be a dream come true. It would be great to, but that’s a few thoughts away yet!

“I’ve just got to try and survive the races first, and then look at some races… I’ve just got to set my own goals, rather than just hoping and looking to win; that’s not going to happen…”

Garner’s strength undoubtedly lies in her sprint, which has earned her most of her results on the track and in criteriums and circuit races. As she joins the professional ranks however, she is keen to develop the other areas of her racing.

“With women’s cycling you can’t really be ‘just a sprinter’ or ‘just a hill climber’” she explained. “You’ve got to be pretty good at everything; it’s completely different races to the men’s. So, no, I’d say that my strongest point is sprinting, but I’m still training for the time trialling, and hill climbing.

“You’ve got to be an all-rounder, especially with stage races, you could win with a time trial,” she added. “So it’s going to be different, but it’s going to be good.”

Looking ahead to the “brutal” races of the spring

lucy garnerJoining a Dutch team, much of Garner’s racing will undoubtedly involve plenty of flat races, with the strong winds that the region is noted for, as well as plenty of cobbles. Far from being worried by the prospect of such tough racing, however, the 18-year-old is looking forward to it.

“It’s good fun,” she laughed. “It makes it interesting, and it makes it harder. I think that’s what really separates - what you’d say if it was a guys race - the men from the boys. It’s the same for the women, it shows the strongest riders, who can ride the brutal conditions; so I think it makes the race interesting.

“I’m looking forward to getting stuck into that.”

With the Argos-Shimano team’s roster confirmed at just ten riders so far, Garner might well find herself thrown in at the deep end a little. With big stars like Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild and German all-rounder Charlotte Becker in the team, she will doubtless be required to do a certain amount to help out, but is excited about the prospect of riding both Classics and Tours.

“I’m looking forward to just doing anything,” she smiled. “I just want to try and gain as much experience, and try and do as many races, and courses as possible, so that in the future I know what to aim for - to know how they’re going to be - so just to do as many races, and to get stuck in as much as possible.

“Obviously [I’ll] try and help the team win,” she continued. “Because I’m a non-experienced rider as such, so I’ll just try and help as much as I can with the team.”

Signing for a Dutch team also means that Garner will be close to boyfriend Lars van der Haar, the under-23 cyclocross World champion, who is joining the Continental team that is - until December 31st - sponsored by Rabobank.

Although she has a Dutch boyfriend, however, Garner denies that it had any bearing on her decision to choose Argos-Shimano.

“It wasn’t just because of Lars, not at all,” she stated. “No, I have to do what I want to do, because at the end of the day it’s my future and I’ve got to try and make money out of it and try and live from it…

“No, it was the best team, the team that wanted to develop me; so yeah, that’s the reason,” she added.

One big advantage with joining Argos-Shimano, will be that it is one of the half-dozen or so big men’s teams that has a women’s squad. This is something that Garner has seen the positive side of already, as the women in the team receive equal treatment to their more famous male teammates.

“Yeah, I think it’s great,” she said. “Last month we all got together, with the men as well; so it’s not like we’re being cut out, we’re actually experiencing what the men experience as well. I think that’s really what women’s cycling needs, and it’s obviously becoming a lot more popular; the men are getting involved, and the men know us as well, which wouldn’t have happened a few years ago.

“They’re all really friendly and we’re getting on really well. I think it’s nice to be included with the guys as well.”

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