Good luck, Georgia!
New Zealander calls time on her cycling career
After a decade as a professional cyclist, Georgia Williams has decided it’s time to retire.
She leaves behind an impressive palmares. Georgia started out as a track cyclist and successfully shifted her full focus to the road. She is a four-time New Zealand time trial national champion and a two-time road race national champion. At the Commonwealth Games, she earned a bronze medal in 2022 in the time trial and a silver in the 2018 road race.
While Georgia is retiring from racing, the good news is she isn’t planning to leave the sport entirely. She’s ready to experience new challenges and opportunities within cycling. Read on to find out about Georgia’s plans for the future.
What made you decide to retire now?
It was an accumulation of a lot of reasons. My body is ready to rest. I’ve picked up so many little niggles over the years. As I'm getting older, I am more hesitant to take risks. And to be that top level you need to take risks. I’ve been thinking about retiring for the last few years. Since 2020, I’ve been saying, one more year, one more year. There was always something that made me feel like, keep going, keep going, but now it feels right. I’ve really enjoyed this season a lot. It was the perfect end to my career being able to do the Vuelta, the Giro, and the Tour de France. Having my family there at the Tour to watch me was perfect.
I am ready to do something different. I’m going to move to Belgium to be with my fiancé so it’s a good time to change things up.
What are some of your favorite memories from your career?
Getting to represent New Zealand on a global stage. That’s been really special and really fun. Winning nationals was super special because wearing the New Zealand champion’s jersey is an absolute dream. I’ve been able to win nationals a few times, which has been incredible.
Just being at the races in general and being with the team. There have been so many fun times on the bus, good laughs, silly jokes. Connecting with each other as friends and then taking that into the races. And of course I liked it when we got results! When someone has success on the team it’s really, really cool. I love celebrating with the girls.
This year got off to a good start, too, with the Tour Down Under. It was my first race with my new team and we went really well together. Stage results, third on the general classification and best team. It was great. I was only with the team for one season but I love how we grew together and developed together. We came together more and more at each race which I really loved. That’s an achievement in itself even if we didn’t always get the result we were after. We just had such good teamwork at every race which was really cool. I lived in Girona before joining the team but I didn’t really know a lot of my teammates before, we just crossed paths sometimes. It’s been so much fun getting to know them. I’ll definitely be coming back to visit them from Belgium.
Do you have any plans for retirement?
I’ll go back to New Zealand for the summer to see my family and reset. And I'm not planning to take my bike back to New Zealand this time. That'll be a first. I'm just looking forward to being at home in New Zealand for a couple months. But it's going to be so strange for me not having to train when I'm at home!
I’ll take a break from riding for a bit and I’ve been getting into running. I've done a little bit of running so far, which is really nice. It's just refreshing to do something different. But it's also another challenge. Riding has become easy for me after so many years but running! You go for a five kilometer run and it's just so hard! That’s something I'm motivated to get better at.
Before I go home, I’m planning to do the sport director’s course in Switzerland in November. And the biggest thing is I want to start my coaching business. I'll launch that in the next few months – after my holiday! I want to be a coach and also a part time sport director. I definitely want to stay inside the peloton and I feel like I have so much knowledge that I just want to share and give back. I’ve mentored some riders over the years and I really like sharing what I know. I still love cycling and I love the racing and being at the races. That's one thing that I'm also not going to miss is the stress of racing! Well, I suppose I’ll still get a bit of that stress as a DS or as a coach but hopefully it’ll be nice to be on the other side!
What is it that you enjoy about coaching and mentoring?
I love it when people can see the improvement in themselves and see themselves step up. Going from, ‘Oh my god, I can't do it’ to realizing that they can achieve goals is amazing. It’s really powerful. Once I’ve retired, I'm going to put all that energy into other people and helping them. It's really motivating for me to help other people improve and achieve big goals. To me that’s super cool. To be a part of that or just to play a role in someone achieving their goals is so nice.
Is there anyone who has mentored you or played an influential role in your cycling career?
My parents. My dad, he did everything for me when I was young. I absolutely would not be here without him and his support. He drove me around New Zealand to take me to races. He went with me to Australia to race Oceania and the track championships. He would come to watch me at junior worlds so he's definitely been an influence. His support has been a motivating factor for me to do him proud so that he knew what he did for me was worth it. And it’s all been worth it.