Known for her contagious smile from ear-to-ear, Webcor-Builder's Mara Abbott has accumulated some impressive results in her first year as a pro. Aside from podium finishes in the Redlands Classic, Montreal World Cup and the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the 21 year-old won the US Elite Women's Road Race championship as well as the U23 time trial championship and two collegiate titles, and is now one of the odds-on favourites at the Tour de 'Toona. Cyclingnews' Kirsten Robbins caught up with the Boulder, Colorado resident at her home.
In just her second full season at the elite level, and her first on a professional team, Mara Abbott's kicked off 2007 with a bang when she won the Redlands Classic's infamous Oak Glen stage and placed second overall to multiple time Tour du L'Aude winner, Amber Neben (Flex-Point) in the overall. Her success continued through the spring when she stormed off the front of a world-class peloton during the Montreal World Cup and the only rider to follow her was the Italian champion Fabiana Luperini (Menikini-Selle-Italia). She added to her short but incredibly stellar list of results when she placed second to world time trial champion Kristin Armstrong (TEAm Lipton) in the recent Nature Valley Grand Prix.
"It's one of those things were it doesn't feel real," said the 21 year old neo-pro with regards to her season's success. "Not matter how many people told me I was talented, I wasn't going to believe the until I actually did it myself."
Abbott's leading team-mate, Christine Thorburn acknowledged her talents early on prompting her to seriously think about winning the climb up Oak Glen in the Redlands Classic. "It wasn't until I was in a position to win that stage that winning was something I considered I was able to do."
Without much experience at the elite level, Abbott came into the season without any tangible or concrete goals, but whatever she might have expected of herself has been far exceeded. "I don't know what my goals are because if I had set them at the beginning of the year, I would have already surpassed them," Abbott said. "So now I go into races leaving goals behind me and just enter with the mindset that I am about to race as hard as I can to see what happens."
To read the full interview with Mara Abbott, click here.