For Mikayla Harvey the move to Bigla in 2019 is the biggest step in a still very young career. At just 20 years of age Harvey’s progress to the highest ranks of professional cycling seems to have been so swift; although there’s such a bedrock of experience that she can draw back from as she goes forward.
It’s a monumental achievement and a testament to the journey that Mikayla Harvey has been on that she now stands at the doorstep of 2019, waiting to step into what will be the biggest and most exciting challenge of her life. Having experienced World Tour racing for the first time this year at the Amgen Tour of California, Harvey is getting ready to join a team that in 2018 was one of the biggest players on the World Tour one-day circuit.
“Signing with Bigla has been the biggest milestone so far in my career. It has been a dream of mine since I was little to be part of a professional team that races the World Tour. I believe Europe is the home of cycling, so to be able to live and race the whole season there is insane and I am extremely excited. Winning titles, and racing at World Championships have been a huge part of my career and development; However, I want to be in this sport for the long run. So, signing with Bigla is huge, as the team will help develop me into the best athlete I can be!” Mikayla told RoadCycling.
Mikayla Harvey’s name has been forefront in New Zealand cycling for a few years now. Her development under the care of the Mike Greer Homes Women’s Cycling Team saw her in the middle of one of New Zealand’s finest development squads. Couple that with her exposure to international racing with MGHWC and in America with Team Illuminate and Harvey’s CV has been growing vast.
But importantly it has been growing vast her way. Rather than be pressured into trying to make it on the European scene as a young rider – still recognised as the home of world cycling – Oceania and American scenes have been good to Harvey and mean that she arrives at her first top flight contract with results that include National and Oceania titles as well as great results in the Cascade Cycling Classic and the Santos Women’s Tour.
This year, Harvey’s calendar grew to include racing in Asia and Europe, with the Kiwi recording three top ten results at the Women’s Tour of Thailand, 4th in the final stage and 9th overall at the Panorama Guizhou International Women’s Road Cycling Race, along with 7th in stage 3 of the Santos Women’s Tour and results in France and Italy that cemented a call up to the national squad for the World Road Championships.
2018 hasn’t been without its challenges. Harvey’s selection for the UCI World Road Championships in Innsbruck was conditional, and depended on her and Grace Anderson producing quality performances in both the Premondiale Giro Toscana and Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche. Dealing with the pressure, though, has been something that Harvey simply reconciled herself to being part of life and something to rise above.
“There was a lot a pressure during my races at Tour of Tuscany and Ardeche. However, as an athlete I am always going to be put under high pressure situations. Being able to handle the pressure is extremely important, and something I have been working on,” Harvey explained. “At the end of the day, I love to train hard and race. So, I put the pressure to one side and just enjoyed the racing and gave it my all. Doing my first race in Europe, left me beaming from ear to ear – leaving me hungry for more!”
Moving to Bigla in 2019 sees Harvey taking her place in an extremely youthful set up with six of the ten-rider roster at under-23. Part of the appeal of Bigla was that very fact of its young set up, where Harvey will likely slot in well. “Bigla has an amazing reputation for developing young riders, which is exactly what I am after. The team also focuses on time trialling – this is one of my strengths, and something I really want to excel in. Being part of Bigla, and surrounded by so many strong and driven riders and staff is the perfect environment for me to grow and hopefully flourish in,” Harvey said.
“We have a very strong team lined up for 2019. My main role will be supporting our lead riders and contributing to the team effort. It will also be an amazing opportunity to learn from the more experienced riders, as there is so much I am yet to discover in the world of bike racing. The whole team is extremely motivated and driven towards a common goal. Being in an encouraging team environment is the perfect place to learn and grow.”
2018 for Cervélo-Bigla was a year full of top results; particularly for star rider Ashleigh Moolman of South Africa, who took second overall in the biggest stage race on the calendar in the Giro Rosa, along with 26 top ten finishes throughout the season including podiums at Fleche Wallonne and La Course by Le Tour de France. She was also 4th in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Flanders. It is this environment that Harvey is getting ready to throw herself into, the world of World Tour one-day races as well as stage races; and while the team will be sans Moolman next year (who joins the new CCC outfit) the demands are set to be no less arduous and a huge step up.
“Thomas Campana was honest with me and said the first year of racing professionally in Europe is always going to be a challenge. The weather at the beginning of the season can be brutal and racing cobbles can be a gnarly experience,” Harvey explained. “However, for some reason that just makes me more excited. The gnarlier racing gets the more I love it. I will be based in Europe for nine months, so this will be a huge change – I have never been away from home for that long, but I think I am now ready to create a new ‘home’.”
Harvey’s racing season is going to be a long one, starting in February and going through to October. For that reason don’t expect to see too much of Mikayla through New Zealand’s summer racing scene as she focusses on building a strong base for Europe. However, we may have the pleasure of seeing her on the start line in Napier.
“I won’t be focusing on New Zealand’s summer of racing, as building a strong base for my European season is essential. Obviously, Nationals is always important. My coach and I are working hard towards creating a programme to set me up perfectly for Europe, as well as giving me good form for Elite National Championships,” Harvey revealed.
Harvey will have good Kiwi company in 2019 as it was announced last week that CHAPTER2 bikes will be sponsoring the Bigla Team. Harvey will be racing the CHAPTER2 RERE and HURU models throughout the season.