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Tallahassee is home to a world champion.

Take a bow, Lily Williams. 

The former Chiles High star athlete helped the Americans roar to the world championship in the women's team pursuit (cycling) at the Berlin Velodrome last week. 

The American quartet of Chloe Dygert, Jennifer Valente, Emma White and Williams easily turned back the reigning Olympic champions from Britain.

2020欧洲杯正规平台Their winning time of 4 minutes, 11.235 seconds stamped them as the team to beat at the Tokyo Olympic Games later this summer.

And to think Williams, not so long ago, was prepared to step away from athletics and transition into a professional career. 

2020欧洲杯正规平台"It feels unreal to be in this position," Williams, 25, told the Democrat Tuesday. 

2020欧洲杯正规平台"Four years ago I was ready to be done being an athlete. Then I found cycling and all the people I've met along the way have been nothing but encouraging to help me get to this point."

2020欧洲杯正规平台Williams, a 2012 Chiles High graduate, was a four-time state champion for the Timberwolves in the 1600 and 3200. She also ran at Vanderbilt University before she found cycling. 

Williams credited "those who nudged me to get into the sport," including the team of staff and coaches at USA Cycling. The list also features her personal coach, Alison Powers, and her road teams of the past two years (Hagens Berman, Supermint and Rally Cycling). 

2020欧洲杯正规平台Dygert and Valente, meanwhile, are back from the American team that won gold at the 2016 world championships ahead of the Rio Games.

2020欧洲杯正规平台But along with Sarah Hammer and the late Kelly Catlin, the team fell to their longtime rivals in the Olympic finals, relegated to a silver medal that was both rewarding and disappointing.

The U.S. got off to a great start Thursday, putting 1.75 seconds into the British team by the first 1,000 meters.

2020欧洲杯正规平台The advantage increased to more than 2 1/2 seconds by the midway point of the race, when the British squad dropped one of its riders and pressed on with just three.

2020欧洲杯正规平台The Americans lost a few tenths of a second down the stretch, but wound up winning by 1.894 seconds. The bronze medal went to Germany. 

While proud of their accomplishment, Williams said the team can't afford to relax. Not with the Tokyo Olympic Games on the horizon. 

"Knowing that we have the capability to win a major championship and perform under pressure is huge, but every team will come into the Olympics with better training, new technology, and peak form, so we cannot relax on this Worlds win by any means," Williams said.

2020欧洲杯正规平台"We're already set to get back into training this week." 

2020欧洲杯正规平台Williams and her United States teammates posted the fastest qualifying time of 4 minutes, 11.229 seconds in the Team Pursuit, topping the 12-nation field.

In January, Williams and Co. captured the gold medal at the 2019-2020 Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Canada.

The work and preparation continues for Williams and Co. While Williams lives and trains in Asheville, North Carolina, she will be based at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for the next few months. 

2020欧洲杯正规平台"Leading into Tokyo we will take a lot of confidence from this ride but know that the Olympics is entirely different," Williams said

"At the end of the day, wearing the rainbow World Champions jersey is an honor that every racing cyclist dreams about. To have one of my own, I am filled with nothing but gratitude that I've been able to find a new sport that I love and be surrounded by people who want to see us succeed." 

-- Associated Press contributed to this report 

Reach Jim Henry at jjhenry@guatemo.com.

No one covers the ‘Noles like the Tallahassee Democrat.

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