Stunning first pro win emotional ride

Ella Harris
Ella Harris
Otago cyclist Ella Harris has won the biggest race of her career and won a lot of hearts in the process.

Harris claimed a stunning victory in the second and final stage of the Women’s Herald Sun Tour.

It was a victory for tenacity as much as anything else.

Despite being dropped multiple times on the final climb, Harris powered past her rivals to claim her first professional win.

The 21-year-old was overcome with emotion in a post-race interview.

She delivered a tearful reaction, leaving cycling commentators and fans thrilled with her success.

"It means so much to me — I’ve got so many people to thank," she told SBS interviewer David McKenzie.

"I’m just ecstatic. It’s my first professional win and I’ve been wanting it for so long — it’s awesome."

Harris is one of New Zealand’s most promising riders, having last year won the youth category of the Vuelta a Burgos and finished as the second-best young rider in the Emakumeen Bira and fourth overall in the Colorado Classic.

She is just one of two Kiwis on the Women’s World Tour and has made a good start to the year. She finished 13th in the Tour Down Under and ninth in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.

"At TDU and Cadel I felt like I was always so close to getting a result but I didn’t have the legs, and then today, at the start I wasn’t feeling so good, but then as I went on, I kept clawing my way back," she said.

"The bunch, they kept accelerating, and I’ve got zero punch. I kept getting dropped but I kept dieseling my way back on.

"With about 500 metres to go, I felt like I had a bit more power than everyone else, and I actually had that sensation on stage 2 at TDU but I completely got swamped, so I was expecting the same thing to happen again today — but to come across the line in first after getting dropped in the surprise crosswinds yesterday, I can’t believe it."

Harris’ emotional interview left renowned SBS commentator Matthew Keenan, who called her victory "heroic", thrilled.

"That was one of the best interviews I have ever seen," Keenan said.

"I loved every bit of it — and I loved the emotion."

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