A Grimsby woman has been crowned third at a cycling national championships after only starting racing a few months ago.
Daniella Florence, 32, only began bike racing in February this year, but has already seen great success, after winning a bronze medal at the national criterium cycling championships. The event sees riders compete in a number of laps around a closed circuit.
This year’s event was held at Darley Moor Racecourse in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and featured riders from all over the country. Having only started competing in cycling in February, Daniella didn’t expect to finish anywhere near the medals.
Her love for cycling started when she was a triathlete. She said: “I was competing in triathlons, but wanted to get better at cycling and my passion just grew from there. I have to say, since making the switch to cycling I don’t miss triathlons at all.”
After spending time away from competitions, Daniella began discussing her next steps with friends and family who felt that racing would be the logical thing to do. “The suggestion was that I start getting back into competitions and I entered into an open road race in February.”
Since then, she’s been competing up and down the country in a mixture of open road and criterium races. At the nNational championships, she was both nervous and excited to be racing at such a high level. “I didn’t realise, but I was racing against former professional cyclists.
“The race was very hard with a lot of intense cycling right until the very end,” she said. “It was probably one of the hardest races I’ve done. The women were so strong, but it was a really good race.
“I never expected to win a medal though, I only entered to see how I would fare against the other competitors. If I’m honest, I wasn’t sure it was even a good idea to enter myself.”
She added: “During the race, there wasn’t one moment where I thought I might have got a medal. I felt as though I was constantly chasing everyone else, so to do what I did came as a complete surprise to me.”
After finding out she’d done enough to earn herself a spot on the podium, Daniella called her parents and friends, having travelled to the race on her own. “As soon as I found out I video called my parents and my friends to tell them the news, it was quite an emotional moment for me. I still can’t quite believe I came third, it all feels quite surreal.”
Daniella is now hoping to build on her success. “The dream would be for me to be racing abroad in a team and maybe try and do some stage racing too. I’m going to try get into velodrome racing too next year and see how that goes. The plan for now is to just keep doing what I’m doing and improving where I can.”
Original story at https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/sport/