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Page last updated at 08:57 GMT, Thursday, 20 January 2011
Victoria Williamson aiming for more bike glory
Alex Hill
By Alex Hill
BBC Norfolk

Victoria Williamson
Victoria Willimson is part of the Olympic Development Programme for 2011

Victoria Williamson, a sprint cyclist from Hevingham in Norfolk, will be going for more medals in this year's Junior World Championships in India.

The 17-year-old, who won the UK Junior National Championships last summer, is hoping for more of the same in 2011.

"I've got a few big competitions coming up this year, and it would be great to pick up some medals," said Victoria.

Williamson has only been cycling competitively for two years, after making the switch over from athletics.

One of her former coaches suggested that her attributes may be better suited to another sport, and so he recommended her to British Cycling.

"Lots of people were talking about cycling, especially after Team GB's success in Beijing, so I thought I'd give it a shot," she said.

"I ended up having to do some power tests and produced some really good results. It was from there that I was put on the Girls4Gold scheme."

I'll always aim for the top, otherwise there would be no point in me doing it
Victoria Williamson

Girls4Gold, a female talent search which aims to find sportswomen with the potential to be Olympic champions, proved to be the springboard in getting Victoria onto the velodrome track.

"The scheme was originally aimed at 18 to 20-year-olds, and I was only 15 at the time of joining it. Shortly after that, I got put on the Olympic Cycling Development Programme and haven't looked back."

The young cyclist has always been a natural athlete, and it only seemed a matter of time before she was going onto great things.

"I've always been competitive at everything I do and I consistently have to try and be the best. I'll always aim for the top, otherwise there would be no point in me doing it."

Olympic Development Programme (ODP)

It's been a quick rise to prominence for Williamson. At last year's European Junior Championships, she won three silver medals and has also been competing in some senior races.

Being part of the ODP means that as well as receiving world class coaching and support, she also sometimes gets to share the track with top cyclists such as Sir Chris Hoy and her idol, Victoria Pendleton.

Victoria Williamson
Victoria was heavily involved with athletics before becoming a sprint cyclist

"In the run up to the World and European championships, we spent a couple of weeks up in Manchester where we trained with the seniors from Team GB, people like Pendleton, Sir Chris Hoy and also Jason Kenny."

Williamson acknowledges that young athletes in other sports don't always get the same opportunity to be around the best, and it's not an opportunity she's going to waste.

"It's sort of surreal. Pendleton and Hoy are my main inspirations and it's great being able to watch them and see how they perform and try to learn things from them."

The ODP was set up almost six years ago, and gives cyclists such as Williamson the ideal platform to hone their cycling skills.

The future

Williamson is currently in her first year at sixth form studying biology, physical education, geography and classics, and fully acknowledges the importance of her academics.

"I really try to balance my college work with my training and competing, but at times it's very hard. I want do well at school, because if the cycling didn't work out, I would have something to fall back on.

Pendleton and Hoy are my main inspirations and it's great being able to watch them and see how they perform and try to learn things from them
Victoria Williamson

"I'm looking to get good grades so that I could get into university if needed. But hopefully, the cycling will work out for me."

London 2012 may have arrived too early in her career, with Victoria Pendleton set to take centre stage, but she's optimistic about the future.

"I'd be pretty lucky to get into London 2012. I think I'd have to rely on a couple of injuries and I don't think anybody is going to get better than Pendleton in the space of a year.

"Realistically speaking, I'm looking more towards the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and then Rio in 2016."

A dedicated athlete and seemingly mature beyond her years, Williamson appears to be right on track for a great career in cycling.

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