The next rider in our Q&A series is Canadian Karol-Ann Canuel. She currently rides for Team SD Worx, and has been participating at the top level of the sport with the team’s predecessor Boels-Dolmans since 2016. Before that, she completed training to be a nurse. Find out a little more about her in our interview.
Interview by Voxwomen | Images: Getty
Where are you from?
I’m from Amos, Québec, in Canada.
Where do you live now?
During the season, I am based in Girona. When I’m in Canada, I live in Gatineau.
How did you get started in cycling?
I started when I was 11 years old. It was important to my parents that me and my siblings do a sport in the summer. I used to play soccer and one year we decided to try cycling. There is a really good cycling club in my hometown and I totally fell in love with the sport.
At what point did you realize that cycling was more than a hobby?
After participating at my first world championship as a junior. I came back from that trip and realized that is something I want to do again and maybe make it as a professional.
What’s your most cherished memory in your sporting career to date?
I would say winning the TTT gold medal at worlds with Specialized Lululemon in 2014. I didn’t have a good year because I had a big crash in June that took me out of racing for a long time. I didn’t think I would be part of the squad of the TTT because it was a new discipline for me. But then I made the team and we won and it was just an amazing feeling.
What are your goals for the Olympics?
I’m super excited to be representing my country to the Games. I just want to have the race of my life. Winning a medal would be the dream.
What will your training look like as the Games approach?
I’m doing an altitude camp at the moment. I’m hoping to go again later in June and also I’ll probably train in Spain to have some heat training before going to Japan.
Which athletes inspire you?
I remember watching Clara Hughes winning a gold medal at the Olympics in speed skating in Turin in 2006. It was the 5000m race. That win really motivated me to be a professional athlete. It was a life changing moment. I remembered how exhausted she was after giving really everything to win and I thought, ‘I want to do that too.’
What keeps you motivated during difficult times?
My team. They are an amazing group of women who train and race hard. I think being around them just motivates me to give my best at all times.
Advice for younger riders striving for the Olympics?
It’s a long journey from junior to the Olympics. It takes time so be patient and enjoy the process. Work hard and dream of being at the Olympics.
If you weren’t a pro rider, what would you be doing now?
I would probably be a nurse. I finished my studies in 2014.
Favorite coffee ride snack?
Really, any baked goods that look good on the day.
Favorite coffee ride stop?
Le palmier in Gatineau. It’s right next to the Gatineau Park where it is awesome to ride in the summer. Also Art-Is-In Bakery in Ottawa. From my home, it’s the perfect 1-hour recovery loop.
What’s your spirit animal and why?
I don’t think I have one…
One thing you can’t live without on the road?
I always bring a container and a lunch box with me for snacks or to make my breakfast when I’m on the road.
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