Abi Smith on the WorldTour, art and nerding out

In the last in our series on the new crop of young British female women riders Owen Rogers talks to 2022 WorldTour debutant Abi Smith

Abi Smith interview
(Image credit: Ashley Gruber & Jered Gruber)

Abi Smith has quite a lot going on. When she’s not busy dominating the UK domestic racing calendar as she did in 2021, she’s either playing one of multiple instruments, painting or simply nerding-out. 

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Though the 19 year-old’s WorldTour cycling career at EF Education - Tibco is in its first months she’s already drawing up plans for university for when she hangs up her wheels. Maybe her biology A Level will aid a medicine degree. Her overall athletic prowess made PE an obvious A Level, and she links her geography studies to mapping her rides, studying wind direction and being outside.

“I’m really nerdy about it. Well I am really nerdy,” Smith laughs when CW speaks with her. She plays piano and viola, and one look at her painting of Ribblehead Viaduct on her Twitter biography page is proof of her artistic excellence.

“That took about a million hours, but landscapes are definitely my forte. I like to do places I’ve been or want to go.” She’s even turned her artistic bent to cycling, with occasional forays into Strava art, her 62 mile Flamingo Fun ride from June 2020 is our favourite.

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“Art takes a long time, similar to cycling,” Smith tells CW. “So when I finished school it was either art or sport and I chose sport, which thankfully has gone quite well.”

Quite well is an understatement. The GP-Ecostruct in May 2021 was her first race in 13 months and her debut senior UCI level event; there, riding for Team GB, she attacked a strong international bunch, bridged to a breakaway, dropped them all, only to be caught inside the final kilometre. She still hung on for a top 20 place.

Back on British soil, victory in two of the three National Road Series races earned her the overall title, while Smith continued to make her mark on the international scene, taking top 20 places in all three WorldTour races she started.

Abi Smith interview

(Image credit: Future)

When Abi was a child the Smith family often head from their home on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors to the Lake District, where mum grew up running and walking the fells. Dad is credited with instilling a love of all sport in his children, and continues to swim, run and cycle, occasionally racing triathlons, a sport both Abi and brother Nathan excelled at.

“I was rubbish as a child, but once I got to 15 or 16 I was in the national team,” she says. “I really enjoyed that, but it was the early morning swims I really didn’t like, but I loved the cycling and the running, and was always at the front on the bike.”

You can read the full feature in the February 10 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine, on sale now. You can buy CW in store and online or you can subscribe and get the magazine (opens in new tab) delivered each week.

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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.