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Elise Chabbey: Living for the moment

Elise Chabbey (Canyon-Sram) at Paris-Roubaix Femmes
Elise Chabbey (Canyon-Sram) at Paris-Roubaix Femmes (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

A year on from working as a frontline doctor in Switzerland during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Swiss rider Elise Chabbey moved up to the Women's WorldTour with Canyon-Sram Racing.

At the end of her first season in the top division, the former Swiss champion has come away with a Giro Rosa top 10, a podium spot at the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta, a Tour de Suisse stage win, and a Women's Tour mountains jersey.

Earlier in the year, Procycling magazine spoke to the 28-year-old to learn more about her, including her favourite climb, secret talent, and her best cycling hack.

Where’s home?

Near Geneva, Switzerland.

What’s your favourite race?

Strade Bianche. I love the gravel, atmosphere and roads, and the course with the hills. It is one race I would really love to win one day.

What’s your favourite climb?

The Col de la Combe Blanche. It’s a climb at home that I always use for my intervals. I really like it because it is very quiet and there are almost no cars. In winter it is a cross-country route and I also do it on my cross-country skis.

Where in the world would you like to get lost on your bike?

I don’t know if I’d want to be lost! Maybe in Iceland. I really want to go there and discover the roads, but with Google Maps. 

What’s your secret talent?

I guess I’m quite good at almost any sport. When I try one, I’m quite good and I like the competition. It’s not really a talent though.

When were you last star struck?

The last celebrity I saw… maybe it was Valtteri Bottas [F1 driver] on the team. He’s the boyfriend of Tiffany [Cromwell] so he’s often around.

How do you let your hair down?

I really like having one glass of wine and enjoying a nice evening outside with friends. 

What result are you proudest of?

My Tour de Suisse stage win. It was quite hard to beat Lizzie Deignan in the sprint, but I just felt like, “Yeah, you can do it, just try.” It was in the Swiss national champion’s jersey and in front of my family and friends. It was really cool.

What’s the last app you downloaded?

The SuperSapiens app. It is quite interesting. I think we learn a lot about our bodies, how we recover and how we fuel. I like it.

 If you had one extra hour in the day what would you do?

Maybe drink one more coffee. Maybe I could use it to study medicine more and to stay up to date. Both at the same time – coffee and study.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Just to enjoy every moment that I had in my life and every part of my life. When I was a kayaker, just to enjoy it, enjoy going to the Olympics and live for the moment. Then I studied, and now I’m a cyclist so just to enjoy every moment I have. 

What has been your toughest day on a bike?

Stage 4 in the Healthy Ageing Tour. It was really cold, and I had really bad hypothermia. At the end of the race, I couldn’t feed any more, I couldn’t feel my hands and the emergency people had to carry me inside to warm me up. And the DS had to carry me out of the emergency room to the car. Now it’s funny but it wasn’t at the time.

What’s your best cycling hack?

In bike racing, never give up because you never know what is happening at the front. Also, to always keep believing in yourself.

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Sophie Hurcom is Procycling’s deputy editor. She joined the magazine in 2017, after working at Cycling Weekly where she started on work experience before becoming a sub editor, and then news and features writer. Prior to that, she graduated from City University London with a Masters degree in magazine journalism. Sophie has since reported from races all over the world, including multiple  Tours de France, where she was thrown in at the deep end by making her race debut in 2014 on the stage that Chris Froome crashed out on the Roubaix cobbles.