Ella Harris has signed a two-year extension to stay with Canyon-SRAM through 2022, the team announced Monday. Harris earned her spot on the Women's WorldTour team after winning last year's Zwift Academy and has proven her strength as one of the top climbers in the world during her first year of top-tier racing.
“It’s true Canyon-SRAM is the only team I really know since winning the Zwift Academy, but I’m certain I've started right at the top and would be hard pushed to find somewhere else that could compare,” said Harris.
“As soon as I was offered another contract, I didn't hesitate or even contemplate any other options. It was a clear decision for me to continue in an environment that I know will provide me with all the opportunities to improve as a rider and become the best that I can be. I've had a fantastic two years with Canyon-SRAM and am really excited at the fact that I'm only halfway through. It feels like a second home to me and it's motivating to think about the further steps I can make in the sport with the backing of such a fantastic team and its partners.”
Harris started this season in the southern hemisphere and had top results in the early UCI calendar and Women’s WorldTour Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in Geelong, where she finished ninth. Not long after the season restart in July, Harris broke her femur in a training crash and spent the next 12 weeks away from racing.
“Rather conveniently, I was able to fulfill most of my goals for 2020 at the start of the year before things went pear-shaped. My main objective was to just win a race, and I did that in February at the Herald Sun Tour. I also wanted to win New Zealand nationals, and had a good campaign there with a win in the U23 individual time trial and a second in the elite road race. I was then really looking forward to building on these results and maintaining the momentum into Europe to see what I could do in events such as the Ardennes and Giro Rosa," Harris said.
"I think it was at this point that the pause button was pressed and unfortunately never got turned on again! I missed the opportunity to continue my development in the European races and build on my first season of 2019. I really look forward to resuming my growth as a rider in 2021, and hopefully starting at races that I would have loved to take on this year.”
Despite a broken femur, Harris reflected on some of the positive aspects of the 2020 season and her first year of racing on the Women's WorldTour and on Zwift during the COVID-19 shutdown.
“I'm trying to not let my broken femur overshadow the positive showings I had earlier in the year. I was really happy with my performances - even in Zwift events such as the Tour for All Alpe du Zwift race. My leg break was really awful, but it almost served as an eye-opener to identify areas that I'd previously neglected and ignored; ones that will ultimately make me a stronger and better rider than before if I am to improve them,” Harris said.
“A big lesson for me in 2020 was to remind myself what the attraction to the sport was and why I felt the desire to jump back on the bike for that second ride after the first. The key reasons I enjoy cycling are the freedom it provides, the chance to test myself and the opportunity to explore. Through reminding myself just why I ride, my overall mental approach becomes a lot more positive and relaxed. I find it important not to get too caught up in the details or focus too heavily on the numbers, but rather try to appreciate the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
Harris completes a 14-rider roster for Canyon-SRAM. The team had announced signing Mikayla Harvey, Elise Chabbey, Chloe Dygert, Neve Bradbury, who are new to the team next year, along with returning riders Kasia Niewiadoma, Alena Amialiusik, Hannah and Alice Barnes, Hannah Ludwig, Lisa Klein, Omer Shapira, Alexis Ryan and Tiffany Cromwell.
Rolf Aldag will leave his position as director sportif as he moves to Bahrain Victorious next year, and the team's manager, Ronny Lauke, will become interim director as they search for a replacement.
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