Straight to the front: Anna Shackley's whirlwind year

Nineteen-year-old Scot Anna Shackley had never raced a pro race until this year’s World Championship road race, but as Vern Pitt finds out, there’s no way it’ll be her last

Anna Shackley (Photo by Luca Bettini - Pool/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The excitement in the living rooms of cycling fans across Scotland was palpable as the 2020 women’s World Championship road race approached the final climb of the day. Dutchwoman Anna van der Breggen had already opened up a sizeable gap and was soloing to victory, but there at the head of the chasing pack, leading former rainbow jersey wearer Lizzie Deignan into the final skirmish, was a Scot who was arguably putting in the best ride of the championships.

“My phone was full of messages from friends and family saying ‘I saw you on TV!’” says Shackley. She had ridden the worlds before, but that was the junior road race a year earlier in Harrogate. “The 2020 Worlds was the first pro race that I’d done,” says Shackley. “It was only my second race after lockdown, so I was a little bit nervous, but the other girls were so calm it was easy to be around them. They basically told me I had nothing to lose.”

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