Zwift Academy winner Ella Harris has re-signed with German team Canyon-SRAM.
The renewal sees the 21 year old from New Zealand gain another year of racing at UCI Women’s World Tour level, having joined the peloton via the annual talent identification competition.
Harris has had a successful year, winning the youth classification at Vuelta Burgos. She was also second in the youth classification at Emakumeen Bira WorldTour, taking fourth overall at the Colorado Classic.
Despite crashing heavily twice and sustaining two broken collarbones in her first year, Harris has clawed her way to finish the season ranked in the top 20 per cent of the women’s peloton in 171st – a feat considered alongside the fact her move to Girona represented her first experience living away from home.
Commenting on the journey so far, she said: “A big take home message for me from 2019 is that setbacks are just a small part of a bigger picture and although they may seem frustrating at the time, eventually the issue will be resolved and normality will resume once again.
“Being able to work through them helped to develop resilience and heightened my tenacity. Essentially, it’s important to just never give up and to focus on what you can control, as it’s how you manage the adversity that helps you grow as a person.”
Harris will spend her off-season break at home in New Zealand, before beginning her build towards the 2020 season.
“I feel really content, positive and particularly motivated going into next year, and just want to keep improving,” she said.
Of the new contract, she added: “I’m really pleased and excited to be renewing with Canyon-SRAM for 2020. I really love the team and feel completely comfortable and happy in the environment; it’s without a doubt the best place for me to continue my development as a rider to become as good as I can be.”
Team Manager Ronny Lauke said: “Ella showed extreme commitment to the sport and was determined throughout the season to get the given job in a race done or go for own results.
“Most impressive was her willpower and the level of suffering she has shown to assure she can be the best possible teammate as well as reaching her goals. The expectations on her for 2020 are to see further development in terms of efficiency and tactical understanding.”
The 2019 Zwift Academy is in full swing, with 10 semi-finalists announced in October and three finalists expected to be unveiled in November.
The final three will join Canyon-SRAM for a training camp in December, where a winner will be selected.