Georgia Williams was blissfully unaware of the faith but her professional team, Mitchelton-Scott, had no doubts about her ability to do the national women's double in consecutive days in Napier because it had already got her silver fern jersey made up before the road race today.
"They really believed in me and they really supported me and were confident in me to do the work so I just can't wait to wear it [jersey]," said Williams after she stormed to the finish line of the BDO-sponsored NZ and U23 Elite Road Cycling Championship along the Marine Parade after a testing 114km road race, on the heels of a time-trial crown yesterday.
The 24-year-old Aucklander today clocked 3h 37m 05s, stamping her supremacy with a yawning 4m 41s lead over Sharlotte Lucas, of Hokitika.
Lucas, a Velo Project rider, had too much juice in the gastrocnemius and soleus calf muscles in the sprint finish over under-23 champion Grace Anderson, of Auckland, who had pipped Kirsty McCallum, of Hastings. The silver medallist had to catch a flight out of Napier soon after the presentation ceremony.
However, McCallum, 25, a Hawke's Bay Ramblers Cycling Club member and Lucas' teammate, got on the podium ahead of Team Illuminate's 20-year-old Anderson because the under-23 race is run separately from the open one.
Williams said she couldn't wait to see what the design of her jersey would be from Mitchelton-Scott, a team with Australian business interests.
"It'll be awesome to represent New Zealand in Europe and wearing the black-and-white fern will be such an honour."
Williams had fumbled and almost dropped the bouquet of flowers on the podium but there was one thing for sure — she would never have to wear the bridesmaid's tag again at the elite nationals.
"It's been especially frustrating last year to get second again so I was really determined this year to not let that happen," said the beaming blonde who made her intentions clear rather then leaving it down to a bunch sprint in the end.
The Aucklander, who hugged her mother, Kendell, and posed for some photos with her, relished the wind gusts, making the charge and mindful none of the leading bunch would have wanted to battle the sou'westers.
"I knew it was my advantage because I like to ride in the wind so I just put my head down and go, knowing no one else likes to chase into the head wind."
She put her edge down to a big season with her professional team in Europe last year.
"We have some of the best [riders] in the world so just having a full season racing in Europe has made me so strong."
The road race is Williams' forte but she championed the importance of winning the time trial which had helped immensely in taking the pressure off her shoulders today.
"Having one already under my belt was already a relief so it took a lot of stress off me in winning the jersey today."
Her Kiwi coach, Daniel Healey, who lives in Germany, has helped her build a tensile template.
"He sent me a message because I think he was watching me on live feed," she said, revealing Healey called her "amazing" and that she had deserved all the accolades this weekend.
"He knows that I really wanted this," she said, after telling the media she had Gold Coast Commonwealth Games ambitions provided Mitchelton-Scott was going to grant her a permission slip to leave the European campaign later this year.
Williams got into competitive cycling when she was only 14 after she went for a fitness test in Auckland, involving a stationary bike component.
"I got a letter a week later from them which said, 'You could be better at track cycling'," said the grinning rider who didn't know at the time that such a code existed.
Curiosity got the best of her so she took up eight free lessons at the Manukau Velodrome where the two favourites were gifted a bike and a year's free coaching.
"I was one of the girls who was a favourite and I stuck at it," said Williams who "only liked running" before that.