Christchurch teenager Henrietta Christie is the latest of the burgeoning number of promising female road cyclists to earn a professional contract to a team racing in the Women’s World Tour.
Christie, recently awarded junior women’s cyclist of the year and junior women’s emerging road talent, has joined the Italian-based Bepink professional team that includes Vantage New Zealand elite rider Michaela Drummond.
Bepink is a well-known professional team, currently a Continental category team but regularly invited to Women’s World Tour races. The squad includes two-time Italian time trial champion Silvia Valsecchi.
Christie, who won the under-23 time trial title at this year’s Vantage Road National Championships, has joined the Bepink team this week.
The 19-year-old from Lincoln High School took up cycling from the age of 12, and joined the Velo Project team, run by her coach Elyse Fraser.
“Henrietta developed strongly through the Under-19 grade and into under-23 age group with support from Velo Project, and we are excited to see her join the next level,” Fraser said.
“She is a very talented rider and a standout in the way she dedicates herself to her riding, as well as key facets off the bike. She is keen to identify weaknesses and work hard to improve them, which will serve her well overseas.
“Anyone who has raced with or against Henrietta will attest to her quiet determination. She is the irrefutable example of turning your dreams into schemes. She is passionate about riding and excited about being immersed in a new environment and culture.”
The opportunity was organised by Patrick Harvey, who has been the key contributor to the development of a number of young riders into the professional ranks including his daughter Mikayla, 23, who is currently ranked in the top 30 riders in the world.
There are currently 13 New Zealand female riders in USA or European based UCI World Tour of Continental professional teams.
CAPTION: Henrietta Christie shows off her Bepink professional team outfit before leaving for Italy.