Dunedin woman launches herself into world of professional cycling from her lounge

A Dunedin woman has scored herself a spot in the professional world of cycling, right from her own lounge.

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Ella Harris is pretty sharp on the Zwift interactive indoor cycling platform. Source: Seven Sharp

Ella Harris, 21, went from cycling on an indoor online training platform, Zwift, to representing New Zealand at the Cycling World Champs in Yorkshire, England in 2019.

Zwift is a virtual training programme for running and cycling that enables people to compete with others from around the world.

“It's a series of 12 workouts that you have to complete to see what your physical capabilities are,” Harris told Seven Sharp.

The prize when completed, is an international trip with a spot on a professional team. Among competitors from around the world, Harris made the top 10.

“So the top 10 then complete a set of seven further workouts. some of them are on the road some are on the trainer as well but I can tell you they're really hard, really pushing me to my limits,” she said.

From there, Harris was selected as the winner of the Zwift academy in 2019. She then joined an international team and was launched into the professional world of cycling.

“My year sort of finished getting selected to represent New Zealand at the world champs in Yorkshire. I finished just off the main bunch, I think it was the top 60 so it was solid for my first world champs outing.

Just this month, Harris experienced more success. She won stage two of the Herald Sun tour in Australia.

"I’d set myself a goal of just winning a race.

"The emotion was really just complete satisfaction because I’d just worked so hard for it."

Next week, she heads to Europe kick start the new cycling season.

“I sort of have to pinch myself a little bit sometimes, I’ve worked so hard to get here and the opportunity I’ve got is unbelievable it’s all I’ve ever wanted.”