While we get ready for a bit of respite from the manic month of July we do so for a vastly different reason to Mikayla Harvey.
Harvey comes away from July having completed the Giro Rosa – women’s cycling’s premier stage race – and La Course by the Tour de France. It’s been a huge 11 days of racing amongst the very best in the business; and the 20 year old thrived in the environment, even spending a day as the Giro Rosa’s best young rider. Afterwards we got to chat to Harvey about her experiences.
RC: First of all it’s been a massive two weeks of racing from Italy to France. For you personally how satisfied are you with your execution across the Giro Rosa and La Course?
Mikayla: Looking back at the Giro Rosa and La Course, it was probably the hardest few weeks I had ever put my body though. The Giro was long and hard. However, I think I surprised myself at how I managed to hang in and play a part to my team over the ten days of racing. My favourite stage was the team time trial – I love this discipline especially as I did a lot when I was a junior through school cycling. So, it was a special moment going back to my roots. Especially when we came second overall, and the whole team got to go up on the podium!
RC: Bigla Pro Cycling can look back on a Giro with a number of high points despite missing out on the top ten overall; capped off with Elizabeth Banks’ win. Did the Giro meet your expectations in terms of intensity and pressure for 10 days?
Mikayla: I learnt so much throughout the Giro, especially the importance of recovery and protecting your body between stages. We pushed our bodies to the limit, so by day number ten I felt quite fragile. The Italian roads are crazy, they are twisty, mainly up or down and you never quite know what’s around the next corner. So, you must be on full alert throughout the whole stage. Also, I managed to do my first ten bottle feed from the car. I felt so heavy and was a little scared that I would never make it back to the peloton! It is such a full on ten days, especially moving to new hotels pretty much every night. However, it is special racing from different locations and seeing so many beautiful places in Italy. The whole experience is extremely memorable, and I feel like I have become a different cyclist with an even greater appreciation for cycling. It is such a tough race, but each day we were given the opportunity to go fighting and to race our hearts out.
RC: It was noted that as a team you were certainly one of the most youthful outfits there. Tell us a bit about how you approached the race as a unit around some of the other teams like CCC-Liv, Boels-Dolmans and Mitchelton-SCOTT.
Mikayla: We were a unique team at the Giro. We are all young and it was the first time racing the Giro for four of us. So, it can be a bit daunting going up against the big teams of riders with years of experience behind them. However, we are such a strong unit and have so much belief in each other. We are a very motivated bunch and never stopped fighting – which speaks for the results we got during the tour. Four stage podiums are INCREDIBLE!
RC: From Italy to France, there was a certain amount of continuity within Bigla’s choice of team for La Course. Was that much of a discussion pre-race around whether to pick fresh legs or side with riders who had shown themselves at the Giro and were you aware of whether you were going prior to the Giro or as a result of your performance at the Giro?
Mikayla: It was also my first time racing La Course. We kept the same team as the Giro, mainly because the time gap between races was quite small.
RC: The course itself looked not so much particularly tough but more tricky. Talk us through the race and also your views on the variety of course options the race organisers have side with for La Course.
Mikayla: We were racing around the men’s individual time trial course [from the Tour de France stage 13]. I really enjoyed the route. It was super challenging, with tough climbs and descents each lap. With only a small portion of flat each circuit. I think it is interesting that La Course changes from year to year. However, it would be nice to have more stages as the atmosphere is insane. The crowds and level of support was next level. The racing was aggressive from the very beginning and it was even more special racing on live TV – which doesn’t happen very often which was made even better when Cecilie finished on the podium!
RC: Where to for you from here?
Mikayla: For me, I am now focusing on the last portion of the season with my main goals focused towards hopefully racing at the world champs.