Kirsty McSeveney revealed her shock at finishing third in the Tour of Cambridgeshire.
The Fareham Wheelers star booked her Gran Fondo World Championship spot with a podium in the women’s 35-39 age group.
It was great to have others from the club there to share my experience on the podium at such a high-profile eventKirsty McSeveney
McSeveney, 36, is among six riders from the club heading to Albi, France to represent Great Britain next week.
Half of those are women, with Marianne Holt and Levienne Croft also making the grade in the 35-39 and 55-59 age groups, respectively.
‘I went to Cambridge confident I would qualify but keen to see if more could be achieved,’ said McSeveney.
‘I tried to ride a smart race, keeping an eye on the faster people and gave it everything.
‘In the end it was enough for third place in my age group, which I was delighted with – after recovering from the disbelief I had actually achieved it!
‘It was great to have others from the club there to share my experience on the podium at such a high-profile event.
‘Levienne, Marianne and I are looking forward to Albi.
‘We expect the standard of competition to be extremely high but we will go into the event in good shape, ready to put in the best performance we are each capable of.’
McSeveney only started road cycling four years ago but has tasted plenty of success, including second in this summer’s Southdown Velo Goodwood Series.
And she reckons the Gran Fondo results highlight how the female section of the Wheelers is thriving.
McSeveney added: ‘I think I can be a good role model and show anything is possible with hard work and belief.
‘The female section has been very active this year and we have put a big emphasis on participation levels.
‘We held a ladies’ day – successfully recruiting new members.
‘Introductory rides are held to prepare people for the club runs and we are seeing so many women out enjoying simply riding their bikes.
‘Some have raced in their first time trials and found support and encouragement from experienced members.
‘Two years ago we had no female road racers.
‘And this year we have achieved good results in time trials, road, cross and mountainbike racing.
‘This has provided inspiration for the other women in the club.
‘But to find further success we are in great need of assistance with coaching.’ The Gran Fondo World Championship women’s race takes place on Sunday, August 27, covers a distance of 97km and features the famous climb du Moulin de Julien.