Ellesse Andrews only took up cycling four years ago but the 18-year-old is already a world champion, and winner of a Halberg award.
Last night Ellesse was presented with the Emerging Talent trophy at the Halberg sports awards after a brilliant year where she won gold and silver medals at the world junior champs in Italy, setting a new world record in the women’s individual pursuit. She won multiple golds at the 2017 New Zealand national track championships and the 2017 club road nationals, and took out the 2017 Waikato and New Zealand secondary schools’ sportswoman of the year titles.
This year the Cambridge-based cyclist will be coming to the University of Waikato to study for a Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Psychology. “I didn’t do psychology at school, but we have a lot to do with sports psychologists in our sport and it’s something that interests me,” she says.
Ellesse has always been sporty. Before moving to Cambridge with her family she lived in Wanaka, playing netball, doing a lot of swimming, and “just about every other sport” before her parents introduced her to cycling.
“Mum and Dad were both cyclists when they were younger, so they encouraged me to take it up.” Her dad Jon is a former Commonwealth Games medallist and Olympian and now a national junior coach.
Now that Ellesse has left cycling’s junior ranks to join the elite class, Tokyo 2020 is her Olympic goal. She knows there’s a lot of work to be done before then. Equally at home on the road and track, it’s the track that will be her key focus in future.
“I own a track, road bike, and a very new time trial bike thanks to Evo cycles! I also have a new road bike on the way. I am well due for an upgrade as I’ve had my current bike since I was 14 years old.”
Bikes are expensive so getting a new one is always a treat. “I am very lucky I have people like Evo to help me out with this. As for my track bike, I’ve had that since 2015, and it’s an amazing bike.”
She does some of her training at the Avantidrome in Cambridge where the University is tertiary partner, doing both gym and track work there.
Ellesse is the recipient of a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship awarded by the University of Waikato to students who, in addition to good academic grades, demonstrate excellent potential in sports and/or the performing arts.
During her study years Ellesse will receive leadership training and be guided through a personal development programme. Working with a high performance manager, Hillary scholars are afforded flexibility in their learning programmes so they can compete at national and international events.