Sara Olsson: "never giving up"
Interview with Swedish rider Sara Olsson. The 22 year old from Orust is looking for a breakthrough in 2013 after riding for Dutch clubteams and some races with the national team in the past years.
Sara Olsson is born on 6 March 1990 in Orust, which is an island on the west coast in Sweden. She started cycling at the age of five at the Uddevalla Cykelklubb in 1995. In the same year she got her first prize at the local club championships which she is still very proud of. Both her parents have been racing in there younger years just as her two years older brother and a big part of her family and relatives. So it was quite natural for Sara to get involved in cycling. Olsson currently is in a relationship with Omnium Olympic Champion Lasse Norman Hansen (Denmark).
Olsson loves pretty much everything in cycling; the feeling of giving everything, the development even after 17 years of racing!, the wonderful people you get to meet, traveling and the sightseeing in every different country.
Sara Olsson. Photo ©
2012 Sara Olsson
You can consider her as an all rounder who rather tries to attack in a race than sitting in the back waiting for the finish line. “My biggest strength is my motivation and the will of never giving up. As a person I am a very happy and positive girl. I try my best to give a smile to the people around me, especially at the races. It gives me a positive feeling and helps me to relax before races. For me it’s easier to be able to get the most out of myself when I race.”
When Sara is not racing she is busy with fashion, shopping and photographing. “I have almost a whole wall full of shoes! I actually studied photographing when I was 17 - 19 years old. I also studied to become a store manager. It’s a bit of a dream to work with clothes and stuff after my cycling career. We’ll see how that goes!” She is also working in a kindergarten and schoolkitchens in the off-season.
The past season Olsson raced for the Dutch clubteam Boretti Ulysses Cycling Team of sports-director Frits Dickhout. In this team Olsson raced together with her compatriot and best friend Johanna Nilsson. “To be able to ride with your best friend in the same team abroad is amazing. We can push each other forward and it’s a safe feeling to have someone you are close to in the same team. It was an important year for me and she definitely played a big role in that. Unfortunately we won’t be in the same team anymore next year.”
Olsson had a very good final part of the season. Photo ©
2012 Bart Hazen
Olsson won the U6 Cycle Tour, the 3rd round of the Swedish Cup and the Tonsberg 4-days in Norway. “The past season was a good one for me since it was the first season since becoming an Elite rider that I actually have been without illness. In the past few years I always had to deal with 6 to 10 weeks of illness in the middle of the season which made it hard for me to develop as a rider. The last part of the 2012 was a positive one with lots of good results back home in Scandinavia. I also developed as a rider in the bigger European races like Lotto Decca Tour and the Tour de L’Ardeche. The L´Ardeche is my new favorite! The race had just everything. Beautiful stages, beautiful environment, good organization and my wonderful team helped a bit too with the positive vibes I got from them.”
Before Olsson joined the Boretti Ulysses Cycling Team in the beginning of 2012 she competed for several other clubteams in The Netherlands like Rabo Lady Force. Over the past years Olsson has learned a lot. “To go to teams in a different country with people you have never met before has been a really good experience for me. It wasn’t always easy and it didn’t go as planned all the time but I have grown as a cyclist and as a person. Also the national team has teached me a lot with their professional staff and the possibility to race in the bigger races. I now know how it works in the “big cycling world” and have a bag full of experiences for the future.”
Olsson hopes to make the step forward in 2013. Photo ©
2012 Sara Olsson
But her career did go far from smooth. Five years ago Sara was involved in a terrible race accident in which she lost a few teeth and had to undergo surgery. The past years she had a lot of dentist visits to fix her teeth. This accident had and still has a big influence on her development as a rider. “It was my first race as a junior in 2007. Before the accident I have always been a good technical rider without any fear on the bike but since that day I got really scared. The accident happened in Sweden where the bunches are much smaller than in most other countries. It was a strange feeling for me to be afraid on a bike and I worked hard to overcome my fears. It has been a long process with lots of setbacks but it´s getting better year by year. This just takes a lot of energy when all you want to do is to develop as a bike rider and be able to race as you want to and always have done before. But this all has teached me a lot about myself, my mind, my body, how to handle things like this etc..It just has made me stronger as a person and as a rider and I hope I will continue to improve next season.”
Olsson has already started her training for the 2013 season where she will normally still be riding for the Boretti Ulysses Cycling Team. Her winter training contains lots of gym and endurance work on the bike as the season approaches she will go to Gran Canaria for more specific training. “I have just started a new training program with a new trainer. It feels like a good push for the next season. Before I had made my own program together with my father.”
Despite her good season Olsson couldn’t make the step to a professional team yet despite feeling herself ready to make the next step in her career. “Well, so far I think it has been good for me to get the good feeling on the bike back without any pressure. But I do feel ready for a step forward in my career and to develop into a better bike rider. I do get to ride bigger races even if I am riding in a Dutch clubteam, but I miss the real “team racing”, to have people ro ride for, to race for a team leader etc.” One of her goals for next year will be to finish in the top five of the Swedish National Championships.
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