THREE of the region’s top sportswomen – Sharon Laws, Kitty King and Emma-Kate Lidbury – have received major boosts in the first days of 2014.
Laws, from Bourton, the British road race cycling champion of 2012, has recently joined a newly-formed women’s cycling team, United Healthcare.
The nomadic Laws usually follows the sun, living in Spain and South Africa last year, but in 2014 she will be based in Asheville, North Carolina, where the temperatures dipped to -16 degrees last week.
Conditions were much balmier for the opening of the women's 2014 UCI road calendar, the Tour of San Luis in Argentina on Tuesday, when Laws and co justified favouritism to win the first stage, fellow Brit Hannah Barnes crossing the line in front.
Lidbury, from Cricklade but now living in Southern California, is one the world’s elite women triathletes and she will again target the 70.3 Ironman world championships in which she has twice gained top 10 finishes.
Lidbury feels she has boosted her chances of a podium finish by signing a deal to ride the world renowned Felt bikes for 2014.
The six-time 70.3 champion said: “I am thrilled to join the Felt family and firmly believe riding for Felt is going to help me find my finest bike and racing form yet.
Kitty King recovered fromm a broken wrist last summer to finish the eventing season in sensational style, becoming Team GB’s top scorer in the Nations Cup at Boekelo in the Netherlands, helping Britain to win the season-long series by a single point over Germany.
King from Lower Stanton St Quintin, has been rewarded for those efforts by being promoted on to the UK-Sport funded World Class Performance Programme from the beginning of the year.
King is expecting great things from her top three horses: Zidante, Persimmon and Cerlor LAN.
The World Class Programme seeks to identify and develop talent with the aim of winning more medals for Great Britain on the international stage now and in the future.