Schoolchildren from the East of England are to ride Stage 3 of the Tour de France in Britain ahead of the pros this summer.
Four girls and four boys aged 16 to 18 have been handpicked by British Cycling to showcase their talent on two wheels and lead out the 155km Cambridge to London leg of the Tour on July 7.
The youths will cycle the first 40km an hour ahead of the pros before nipping down to London in a car and popping back on the course 40km before the finish, arriving in the Mall to experience a pro Tour finishing line.
Shenfield High School pupil Bryony Board, 17, who rides for Velosport-Montegrappa, told the Brentwood Gazette: "I was shocked when I was told. My mum got a phone call when we were out shopping and we missed the call, so they left a message saying call us back.
"I'm going to be in Switzerland training but I'm going to come back a few days earlier so I can ride. I just wanted to go over there to train after I'd done my A levels. I'm quite nervous to be honest. I'll probably never get the chance to do it again, it'll be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To be one of eight selected to do it is amazing.
"I rode on the Mall last year in a criterium race [held on a short course, usually in city centres] and that was great but this is going to be so much better riding in front of a Tour de France crowd. It'll be buzzing."
Of her career with Velosport-Montegrappa, she said: "In Belgium I think I was the only junior there and was the youngest racer, riding with Lizzy Armitstead.
"Laura Trott and Danni King also raced in Italy. I was very nervous on the start line. The whole experience racing over there in Italy is completely different to racing here. The crowds are great.
"I love racing in Belgium as well. I want to go live over there. It's a lot better racing. I've done a couple of junior races over there. Going into this season it was more about learning as I wasn't really experienced."
<p>After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.</p>