Classique Rider Interview – Sophie Lewis

Active Essex

Starting this Friday, is the first stage of the RideLondon Classique, which brings the best female cyclists across the world to Essex. The course which stretches across Essex, begins in Saffron Walden and brings fast-paced racing for both riders and spectators. It’s an event that’s not to be missed.

The Classique has been part of RideLondon since 2012 and was added to the UCI’s Women’s WorldTour calendar in 2016. Laura Kenny won the inaugural edition back in 2013 following a very successful 2012 London Olympic Games, in which she won two gold medals on the track. This year, the three stages will span across Essex and London. Stage one will commence in Saffron Walden and finish in Colchester, while stage two starts and finishes in Maldon. Stage three starts and finishes at The Mall in Central London and is one of the world’s most famous stretches of roads running from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square, but we suspect the women will be riding too fast to stop and wave to our King!

We were lucky enough to speak to Sophie Lewis; a rider from DAS – Handsling Bikes who will be taking on the Classique over the weekend. Sophie started cycling when she was 10 years old by joining her local village cycling club and her love for riding a bike grew from there.

After watching the 2012 London Olympics, Sophie soon realised there were many different disciplines of cycling and it is clearly true that those Olympics did inspire the next generation of athletes. When speaking about her proudest achievement she said;

“It has to be taking the bronze medal in the team pursuit at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. It was a surreal experience, at a home games with an insane crowd, it is a moment I will cherish forever.”

From watching the home Olympics to then competing for Great Britain herself at just 20 years of age, Sophie’s story is the perfect example of how inspiring it can be for young girls to see great female athletes compete at such a high level. Her goal is to win an Olympic gold medal as well as European titles but Sophie emphasised that she wants to look back at her professional career and remember the fun times and feel proud in everything she achieved. Looking back on her results so far, she can already be very proud in everything she’s achieved at such a young age.

When talking about the Classique, Sophie told us ;

“I am really looking forward to racing such a big event and seeing where I fare against some of the biggest names in female cycling. I can’t wait to get started in Saffron Walden for stage one as the first part of this stage is on roads that I frequently train on. I also cannot forget stage three, it’s going to be pretty incredible racing on the streets of central London – although I don’t think there will be any time for shopping this time.”

The different settings that the Classique covers is an amazing opportunity for both riders and spectators as they can understand what great cycling roads Essex has to offer, which should hopefully inspire others to take to the same roads after this weekend.

Finally, we asked Sophie what advice she would give to anyone getting into cycling and she expressed the fact that you should go out and have fun!

“Find what you enjoy the most and just go and do it.”

Speaking to Sophie about her cycling journey and personal goals, was a genuine pleasure and her love of cycling and all things bike-related is evident. We hope that talented athletes like Sophie will be an inspiration to young people interested in cycling, as they can see that enthusiasm, dedication and a love for the sport can be the most important motivation to follow your dreams.

We want to wish all the female riders participating in the RideLondon Classique the best of luck in all the stages, and hope that they are as inspiring to you as they are to us.

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