Mikayla Harvey will line up for her third World Championships in four years when she takes to the start line for the road race and time trial in Yorkshire. It’s her second outing in the elite ranks, and follows a breakthrough season for the 21 year old.
RC: First of all at the end of what’s been a mad-busy season for you, you now get to pull on the fern at World Championships. Regardless of how Worlds goes, how will you look back on 2019?
Mikayla: Being able to pull on the fern and represent New Zealand at the road world champs is a special feeling. Personally, I have had an incredible 2019 season. I feel like I have really embraced the professional life of a cyclist. Racing for team Bigla has allowed me to gain an immense amount of knowledge and skills, as well as developing physically throughout the season.
RC: You got your first taste of elite racing at World Champs last year, building on your junior experience a couple of years prior. What did that experience last year teach you about how to approach a World Championship event.
Mikayla: My lead into the World Champs hasn’t been as smooth sailing as I would have liked. I crashed out of Boels Ladies Tour and sustained a mild concussion, so it has set me back slightly from my ideal preparation. However, that’s just the reality of racing!
It’s been quite different to any previous year. I have a full season of European racing under my belt. This year I have more understanding of racing and the entire peloton won’t be foreign to me. However, the one thing I have learnt from my previous experiences is that world champs is extremely relentless and the battle is on from the very beginning.
RC: Is it just a totally different ball game, a road race at Worlds compared to any other one-day event through the year?
Mikayla: World champs will be a totally different ball game from the one-day races I have competed in this season. The fact that I will be racing against my Bigla teammates is a weird feeling – I feel like I will naturally gravitate towards them in the peloton.
RC: What do you expect from the Yorkshire course and do you feel that it plays to your strengths regarding the reputation you’ve built as a mountains super domestique?
Mikayla: I am excited about the Yorkshire courses. The time trial is rolling with a couple of hard climbs. This course really suits me as it is not too technical but still physically hard. The road race is hard, but not extremely hilly. So, it fits to my style of racing. I love hard and punchy courses! A little bit of gnarly Yorkshire weather could also be an interesting factor.
RC: What would a successful Worlds look like for you and the team, and how do you hope to be able to race given that all things are not equal with team numbers?
Mikayla: The race will be interesting for us Kiwis. We are a small but strong team. Obviously being a team of three means we won’t have the cards to play like the other Nations. However, I believe the three of us can work well together to achieve a good result.