2018 CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy winner, Ella Harris, has been named to represent New Zealand at the upcoming UCI Road World Championships. The CANYON//SRAM Racing rider, who is in her first year as a professional rider has experienced a season of firsts, and taken many things in her stride.
At 21 years old and in the midst of her first season racing in Europe, the New Zealander won the Youth Classification at Vuelta Burgos in May, and was 4th in the general classification at Colorado Classic in August, not to mention helping her teammates to several podium results throughout the season. Her announcement in New Zealand’s roster for the 2019 Road World Championships in Yorkshire, UK, is met with excitement and nervousness from the Dunedin local.
“I’m really excited and honoured to be off to Yorkshire. It’s been a big goal of mine to one day reach a world championship but I didn’t think it would be for a while. Now that the selection has sunk in, I’m already a little nervous just thinking about the magnitude and significance of the event. At the end of the day it’s just another race so I’ll try and focus on it like that, but at the same time it’s pretty surreal to be competing in the biggest race of the year and one where a rainbow jersey will be awarded.”
“I knew from the very start of the year that racing in Europe for a team like CANYON//SRAM would provide me with a great platform for national team selections. The big unknown for me was whether I’d actually be able to compete at the level I’d find myself riding in. The racing would have to go well and I’d need to find quite a bit of experience in a short amount of time. Plus, it’s hard to know where you stand with the National Federation – especially when you take an unusual path into top level international racing!”
Harris raced at Tour de Yorkshire in early May, where the women’s peloton had a glimpse of the Harrogate circuit that will be a part of the road world championships course at the end of September.
“I’m expecting it to be a very tough day in the saddle, constantly demanding with no major time for recovery. The first section before reaching the Harrogate circuit has a lot of climbing so the peloton may whittle down through here, and the finishing circuit with multiple lumps and tight turns could create quite a selection coming into the final. It’ll definitely be a race of attrition and one for the strongest, but I’m excited to give it a crack. I’m also pleased to have caught a glimpse of the course at Tour de Yorkshire, so I have a small idea of what could play out.”
News of Harris’ selection, comes during the 2019 CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy, where women are reaching the midway point of the 8-week program. While registration for the 2019 CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy closes today 1 September, as a former winner Harris can offer some advice for women still considering a last minute registration.
“Even if you have doubts or reservations, just sign up and aim to complete the first session. Hopefully the taster will be enough, and you’ll then feel motivated to try some more! There’s nothing to lose from making a start and so much to gain from completing the Zwift Academy, whether you’re aiming towards the contract or not.”
Her advice to women participating in the Zwift Academy and aiming for a pro contract with CANYON//SRAM Racing in 2020?
“If you’re in the middle of working through the workouts and are aiming for the pro contract, my advice would be to make sure you’re leaving nothing to chance and that you’re giving yourself as much opportunity to complete the workouts to the best of your ability. Whether that be making sure you’re getting sufficient recovery in between sessions, having some motivational songs blasting through headphones or ensuring that you’re squeezing out every last amount of energy when giving a maximal effort. Every little bit counts, so don’t complete the academy with any regrets!”
More details on the CANYON//SRAM Zwift Academy can be found here.