We are lucky enough to be welcoming a new batch of riders to our rider journal series in 2021. We have picked ten riders to give us an insight into life at the Continental and elite-levels of racing, both at home and abroad. We’ll be introducing each rider through December. So far we have revealed Abi Smith, Red Walters, Charliiy Berry, Joe Nally, Charlotte Broughton and James Jenkins. Next up is Lizzy Bennett…
Like James Jenkins, Lizzy Bennett is another rider who impressed in 2019 and will be one to watch once racing resumes in full.
Starting her 2019 in the blue of Campinense-Velo Performance, she had an incredible run of form from May to July. In May, she finished in the top ten in all seven rounds at the Tour Series and 14th in the Lincoln GP. The run continued in June. It started with a win in the Welsh road race championships road race, followed by 3rd at the Women’s CiCLE Classic, 2nd in the Bristol Crit 5th in the national under-23 time trial and 13th in the national road race championship.
July was even better. It began with 3rd at the Otley GP. And then came he biggest result yet: winning the prestigious Curlew Cup. And then 2nd a week later in another National Road Series race, the Stockton GP, confirmed Lizzy as one of the top domestic performers of the season. She was rewarded with a stagiaire contract at Drops for the rest of the season, experiencing her first Women’s WorldTour race, the Prudential RideLondon Classique.
A full contract with Drops followed and while her season was severely curtailed, she still managed to shine, finishing 13th in tough Belgian UCI race, Le Samyn des Dames, at the beginning of March.
From getting dropped one year to winning the next is something that I still can’t really get my head around
The Welsh Cycling-supported rider will continue with Drops – or Drops-LeCol supported by TEMPUR to give it its fully-rebranded name – in 2021, hoping to achieve the kind of results that will secure her selection for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Here is what she had to say to us before she opens her journal account next year…
How would you describe yourself as a rider?
I wouldn’t put myself under any bracket yet, I’m still trying to figure that one out. I love the tactics and technical aspect of the sport. I always get the best out of myself when I’m racing so I am definitely a racer.
What is the achievement you’re most proud of in cycling so far (and why)?
My proudest achievement in cycling has to be my win at the Curlew Cup in 2019. From getting dropped one year to winning the next is something that I still can’t really get my head around. It was so nice to finally win something big in the UK. I put a lot of it down to confidence and self-belief and surrounding yourself with the right people. You have to believe in the process to get the best out of it.
What motivates you as a rider?
The process of getting to a goal, and achieving it, regardless of how big or small, is a key driving force.
Will you be a full-time rider next year, or will you be juggling work and study alongside your racing and training?
I’m working part-time, a couple of days a week, in the run-up to Christmas. It makes sense as I’m home in Wales and able to balance it with the training. Also next year I’ll be supported by Welsh Cycling. I’m forever grateful for their support. They help with pretty much everything from coaching through to strength and conditioning and online educational sessions.
What can you tell us about your team for next season?
Next year will be my second full year with Drops after my stagiaire stint last year. I wanted to continue with the team after the faith and belief they have shown in me from day one. I hope to repay that back and more next year. I’m excited to be racing with a great group of girls and to continue to learn from them.
What might your race programme look like?
The team’s programme will look fairly similar to what was planned for this year with a mix of stage racing, classics and more, across Europe and in the UK.
Next year will be a key one for Commonwealth Games selection in 2022
What would a successful 2021 look like for you?
A successful 2021 would be to see progression in race results, as that is what is seen by most and moves you up the ladder. Next year will be a key one for Commonwealth Games selection in 2022 as the Games are early that season, so I hope to have a consistent year and show some good form.
Find out more
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