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An interview with Elizabeth Williams
by Mal Sawford
Up and coming road rider Elizabeth (Lizzie) Williams surprised the favourites with her strong sprint to win the Australian Women's Criterium Championship held during the Jayco Geelong Bay Series. I caught up with the popular Victorian rider before the start of the fourth race in the series, where she shares third place overall with Allison Wright, behind series leader Kate Bates and 2002 Criterium Champion Hayley Rutherford.
Cyclingnews: Congratulations again on your fantastic ride yesterday Lizzie. Have you come down to earth yet?
Lizzie Williams: I'm still pretty excited! I haven't been sleeping well for the whole series and after a few celebratory drinks I barely slept last night.
CN: A few questions on your background. How long have you been riding?
LW: I've ridden the track for 3 years, but I've just finished my first road season.
CN: Tell me about your coach.
LW: I'm coached by Simon Sostaric. He's a physiologist at Victoria University where I study, and I approached him in June to see if he was interested in coaching cyclists, and he has been training me since.
CN: Can you describe a typical training week?
LW: Simon has been emphasising intensity over mileage. I haven't done more then 400km in a week, because I'm still very young and haven't been riding that long. I do up to 15 high intensity efforts over the week, and the last few months he has had me racing as many crits as I can. Sorry, but I don't want to give too much away here!
CN: I couldn't help noticing last night that your coach spirited you away not long after the race and had you wading in the beach! What's all that about?
LW: It's part of the recuperation program Simon has me on. He's made me do 10 minutes of it after every race of the series. I've been supposed to do it on my rest days but haven't really got around to it before!
CN: You'd been right up there in the first two races of the Series with top 10 finishes on both days, what were your tactics going into the Championship race?
LW: I originally planned to try to get away after the second sprint, but Kate Bates tried first. I wasn't too worried though because I saw that the girls were chasing everything. For the finish, I wanted to lead out; in the first two races I'd started my sprint from about 6th wheel and finished there, but when I won the bunch sprint (for the Bronze Medal) at the Club Nationals I lead out so I thought I should try that again.
CN: What are your tactics for the rest of the series?
LW: Anything else will be a bonus! I'm exhausted now but would like to do well enough today and tomorrow to hold onto my top 3 spot. Today's circuit doesn't really suit me but I'd like to do well at the Crown Casino race.
CN: What are you goals in the sport?
LW: I'm aiming to make the Commonwealth Games team in 2006, and go to the Olympics in 2008. Simon thinks I should aim for Athens in 2004 but that might be a bit too soon. I want to be riding overseas within two years, either with the AIS or an overseas team.
CN: Do you have any role models in Cycling?
LW: I had always been impressed by Rochelle Gilmore.
CN: Lastly, I noticed you're not wearing the National Champion's jersey yet?
LW: I'm not sure when I'll be getting it. Apparently Cycling Australia didn't send one to the officials here so they're going to see if Hayley Rutherford will lend me hers for the final race at the Crown Casino. I'd love to race in front of a big crowd in it.
Lizzie headed off to warm up on the rollers for the brutal day 4 circuit, where she missed the early break but took a close second in the bunch sprint to hold onto her 3rd placing. Lizzie will certainly be a rider to watch at next weeks Australian Road Championships and over the coming years.