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Supporting role for debutant Williams

By Colin Thompson in Curacao

Zoenique Williams will pedal into unchartered terrain at this weekend's Elite Caribbean Cycling Championships (CCC) in Curacao.

The newly crowned national women's criterium champion is making her debut at the regional championships this year.

Williams' primary role is to provide support and cover for teammate and multiple CCC medallist Nicole Mitchell during Sunday's road race.

The top six countries will qualify for next year's Central American & Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mexico.

“I'm absolutely convinced that when it comes to the road race Zoenique is going to be a factor in that event and will do extremely well,” said team coach and assistant manager Greg Hopkins, speaking from the team's base at the Blue Bay Hotel.

Williams' rise in the sport has been nothing shy of meteoric. She's been cycling competitively for less than two years and in that relatively short period has thrust herself high in the pecking order of local women's cycling.

“She is a very, very focused and very determined,” Hopkins stressed. “She trains with some of the top riders on the Island and she is not intimidated by them. She works out on an equal level with them and she‘s very focused.

“She knows what she wants to get out of the sport and what she wants to give to the sport and as we saw in the criterium championships last week, albeit in a totally different race environment, she's a very, determined and very focused rider and I think she will do well here.”

Williams will get her first taste of action in Saturday's time trial.

“The reason that I have her doing the time trial is because it's a new environment for her on the international scene and it's better to get her in that competitive frame of mind on the Saturday before the road race,” Hopkins explained. “But there are absolutely no expectations on her at all.

“She has no aero (aerodynamic) equipment, no time trial bike and she doesn't even have clip on bars so she'll basically being doing the ride as a pre-race workout in preparation for Sunday.”

Added Hopkins: “With it being a new experience for her, it's far better for her to be doing that (time trial) than for her to be sitting around and perhaps even over thinking what's going to happen on the Sunday.

“So it will be a good experience for her but so far as the team is concerned there are absolutely no expectations on her for the time trial.”

Williams has vowed to “give her all” in the time trial, even though she has nothing to lose.

“I'm just going into the time trial and putting my all in and try and get my mind right for Sunday,” she said.

Also representing Bermuda in Saturday's time trial are Mitchell and Shannon Lawrence.

Mitchell won a silver medal in the time trial at the previous CCC in Antigua and a bronze medal in the road race.

Bermuda's cycling team at the Caribbean Championships in Curacao enjoy breakfast at their hotel this morning ahead of this weekend's racing.

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Published October 18, 2013 at 7:50 pm (Updated October 18, 2013 at 7:58 pm)

Supporting role for debutant Williams

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