American climbing talent Veronica Ewers attended her first-ever group road ride in 2018, showing up on a too-big, hand-me-down Kona Jake the Snake cyclocross bike in leggings and tennis shoes. By the summer of 2021, she stood atop the U.S. Pro Nationals podium with a bronze medal around her neck, and now she's preparing to line up at the women's version of the most recognizable cycling event in the world: The Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. Meet Veronica Ewers.
As Veronica Ewers makes waves in the U.S. and European bike racing scene, the former soccer player never thought she'd have to correct cycling fans on where she was born.
No, it wasn't Moscow, Russia.
"I was at Navarra [Women's Elite Classics] when I had someone come up to me and say, 'your stats say you're from Moscow,'" Ewers said. "And I said, 'Oh, it's the United States, I promise.'"
The popular online cycling database Pro Cycling Stats has Ewers' birthplace listed as Moscow, which isn't wrong but it can be confusing.
Ewers was born in Moscow, Idaho, a relatively small college town bordering eastern Washington.
In fact, her parents' home in Moscow was Ewers' last stop before heading to France for the Tour de France Femmes avec Zift, one of the biggest races of the year for the women's peloton.
"Recently, I realized I haven't been home to Moscow during the summertime for about eight years," Ewers said. "I've only been there for Christmas, the last few years.
For this, she's easily forgiven as she has been pretty busy over these past few summers. After attending Willamette University on a soccer scholarship, Ewers moved north to work at the Seattle Children's Hospital in 2017 as a Patient Account Specialist, appealing and fighting denied claims on behalf of insured.
Missing the camaraderie and dynamics of team sport, Ewers began running "as a kind of therapy" with local running clubs. Here, she was soon encouraged by her duathlete friends to also start cycling.
She rolled up to her first group ride in 2018 on a too-big, hand-me-down Jake the Snake Kona bike in leggings and tennis shoes. Still, Fount Cycling Guild founders Jennifer Wheeler and David Richter immediately spotted Ewers' potential.
"I was initially so uncomfortable at that moment, trying something new like that. I knew nothing about competitive cycling but I liked the community, and they really seemed to want to help. Jennifer saw me and said, 'oh, we need to get you off that bike and onto a real bike because you're pretty strong'," Ewers recalled.
Later that year, Wheeler asked her to join their new Fount Cycling Guild. In that program, Ewers steadily grew in her cycling development but said she didn't go all in until March 2019, when Wheeler offered to coach her.
"I think because Jennifer was all in on me, it made me want to go all in [on cycling]," Ewers said. This meant giving up on running.
The Turning Point
The 2021 U.S. Pro Nationals changed her life completely.
Ewers had been focusing on a potential career change into the tech world, and spinning quite a few plates to do so.
She was transitioning out of her full-time job at Seattle Children's Hospital, taking an online UX/UI design course, working at Rapha part-time and all the while still training to become a better bike racer.
At Nationals, she surprised the pro peloton and perhaps even herself when she sprinted into bronze in the road race, and several professional teams took notice. Once returned home, the phone began ringing with teams' offers, eager to sign the climbing talent.
Ewers decided to go all in once more, this time to become a professional cyclist, move to Europe and eventually finish her design course — which she did earlier this year.
"Becoming a professional cyclist wasn't something that was even on my radar within even a month before signing a contract," Ewers said.
"Nationals validated many of the words of encouragement I'd received from coaches and teammates about my strengths, making me a bit more confident in my abilities. But I had no perception of being able to race in the first-ever Paris Roubaix [Femmes] that same year."
Onto the WorldTour
That August, Ewers was given a last-minute guest riding spot with EF Education TIBCO-SVB at the Joe Martin Stage Race. Here, she podiumed at every one of the four stages before ending up in second place overall, behind teammate Emma Langley.
EF Education TIBCO-SVB continued her guest-riding contract for a trip to Europe to contest the hilly Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche, Ewers' first taste of European racing. She finished in fifth place in the General Classification.
Just a few months before EF Education TIBCO-SVB joined the Women's WorldTour, Ewers signed with the pink squad through the end of 2023.
From then on, solid results have come swiftly for Ewers. She recently won Navarra Women's Elite Classics in Spain in early May and continued a string of solid performances through the spring and early summer, including second place finishes at Ceratizit Festival Elsy Jacobs and Durango - Durango Emakumeen Saria.
"I'm very fortunate to be here, at this time, when women's cycling progressing so much," Ewers said.
"It's been an adventure. I love the ladies on the team. We're a solid group of ladies, not only on the bike but off the bike. Everybody has a great personality, which makes the team what it is. It's welcoming and chill, but also competitive as a unit."
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