“It’s true CANYON//SRAM is the only team I really know since winning the Zwift Academy, but I’m certain I’ve started right at the top and would be hard pushed to find somewhere else that could compare,” said Ella confidently.
“As soon as I was offered another contract, I didn’t hesitate or even contemplate any other options. It was a clear decision for me to continue in an environment that I know will provide me with all the opportunities to improve as a rider and become the best that I can be. I’ve had a fantastic two years with CANYON//SRAM and am really excited at the fact that I’m only halfway through. It feels like a second home to me and it’s motivating to think about the further steps I can make in the sport with the backing of such a fantastic team and its partners.”
Ella started the 2020 season in the southern hemisphere and had top results in the early UCI calendar and Women’s World Tour Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong. Not long after the season restart in July, Ella broke her femur in a training crash and spent the next 12 weeks away from racing.
“Rather conveniently, I was able to fulfil most of my goals for 2020 at the start of the year before things went pear-shaped. My main objective was to just win a race, and I did that in February at the Herald Sun Tour. I also wanted to win New Zealand nationals, and had a good campaign there with a win in the U23 individual time trial and a second in the elite road race. I was then really looking forward to building on these results and maintaining the momentum into Europe to see what I could do in events such as the Ardennes and Giro Rosa. I think it was at this point that the pause button was pressed and unfortunately never got turned on again! I missed the opportunity to continue my development in the European races and build on my first season of 2019. I really look forward to resuming my growth as a rider in 2021, and hopefully starting at races that I would have loved to take on this year.”
Ella reflects on some lessons learned from the 2020 season.
“I’m trying to not let my broken femur overshadow the positive showings I had earlier in the year. I was really happy with my performances – even in Zwift events such as the Tour for All Alpe du Zwift race. My leg break was really awful, but it almost served as an eye-opener to identify areas that I’d previously neglected and ignored; ones that will ultimately make me a stronger and better rider than before if I am to improve them,” explained Ella.
“A big lesson for me in 2020 was to remind myself what the attraction to the sport was and why I felt the desire to jump back on the bike for that second ride after the first. The key reasons I enjoy cycling are the freedom it provides, the chance to test myself and the opportunity to explore. Through reminding myself just why I ride, my overall mental approach becomes a lot more positive and relaxed. I find it important not to get too caught up in the details or focus too heavily on the numbers, but rather try to appreciate the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
Ella explains her ambitions in 2021
“I would like to be in good shape again for the national championships in mid-February to give these a decent attempt, before returning to Europe at a physically top level. I want to gain more experience in the larger races, take to the start-line of events that I was destined for in 2020 and improve in my own performance and in my contributions to team objectives. My work in progress is also to become stronger and healthier than prior to my injury, so I will keep chipping away at this and improving within off-the-bike aspects,” added Ella.
The full 14-rider roster of CANYON//SRAM Racing for 2021 is now finalised: Alena Amialiusik (BLR), Alice Barnes and Hannah Barnes (GBR), Neve Bradbury and Tiffany Cromwell (AUS), Elise Chabbey (CHE), Chloé Dygert and Alexis Ryan (USA), Ella Harris and Mikayla Harvey (NZL), Lisa Klein and Hannah Ludwig (GER), Kasia Niewiadoma (POL), and Omer Shapira (ISR).