British pro Nikki Harris has covered most of the major cycling disciplines over her career. She was mountain biking as a youth, joined the British Cycling track program aged 18, then moved to cyclocross and became British national champion twice. For 2016, she moves her emphasis to road cycling, joining the Boels-Dolmans team with a view to representing the UK at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The Olympics are a major goal for Harris. It’s the same for every professional cyclist, she says. “Every athlete wants to be part of an Olympic Games. It’s just in me. I want to say I was there.”
“I’ve been doing ‘cross for a couple of seasons now with the same team, and I just felt like I needed a change,” Harris says of her move to the Boels-Dolmans team, which was announced for the 2016. The arrangement she made with the team allowed her to continue racing cyclocross for the remainder of the 2015/16 season, which culminated in her taking the British National Champion title and placing 5th at the World Championships. Her move is also motivated by a desire to improve her cyclocross racing.
“I’ve seen other girls cross over between road and cross, and it’s really benefitted them. And it’s something totally new. I really want to get to the Olympic games to do a job there, so the road option seemed to fit in perfectly, and an opportunity came up with Boels-Dolmans, and everything seemed to fit.”
While Harris has been cycling from a very young age, the idea that cycling could become a job didn’t come to her until relatively late on. “I did mountain biking for quite a few years when I was a Youth and early Junior year. I raced a couple of the World Championships for mountain biking as a Junior, and then after that the British Track Team approached me to do some track, and persuaded me to move up to Manchester. That was when I was 18 years old, and that’s when I started to see it not just as a hobby but something I could turn into a profession.”
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