Double Olympic rowing medallist Elise Laverick is to ride next month’s London-Paris Cycle Tour. Like her Great Britain team-mate, Olympic and World Champion Rebecca Romero, Laverick is making the switch from rowing to cycling Laverick, 33, said: “It was a real inspiration to see Rebecca win Olympic medals in rowing and cycling. I was looking for a new challenge after winning my bronze in Beijing and decided to concentrate on cycling. I don’t think I’ll make it to the top level. I’m just going to see how much I can achieve. I love being out on the bike and I think a prestigious event like the London-Paris 09 Cycle Tour, is a great place to do some serious cycling.”
An Olympic bronze medallist in the double sculls at the Athens and Beijing Olympics, Laverick battled her way back to fitness in 2005 after being left for dead in a hit–and–run cycling accident in central London. Laverick, who studied at the Guildhall School of Music, plays the double bass and listens to classical music while warming up.
She is now training to be a solicitor with city law firm Ashurst and cycles competitively for Pearson Cycles based in Sutton, where Romero once worked as a Saturday girl.
“After Beijing I wanted to take a year out from rowing and cycling was the obvious alternative for me because I’ve always enjoyed long training rides out on the bike. I love the social side of cycling and it’s a sport that you can compete in no matter what your age,” said Laverick, who marries Putney GP David Sherwell this September.
Sven Thiele, from HotChillee the global events company which stages the London-Paris 09 Cycle Tour, said: “It is fantastic to have Elise in the L2P peloton. She is an outstanding sportswoman who has achieved success at the highest level. She is a great role model and a real inspiration for women wishing to participate in serious cycling events like the London-Paris Cycle Tour. With James Cracknell riding the first day with us this year, we are proud to have two Olympians riding our event.”
The London-Paris 09 Cycle Tour (www.londres-paris.com) runs from June 25 – 28 and is sponsored by adidas, Science in Sport, Subaru, Specialized, Sigma Sport and British Cycling. It is known as the “professional event for amateurs” and is the blue riband of corporate cycle sportives. More than 300 riders will cover 520km over three days and it is the closest the amateur rider can get to the Tour de France experience with rolling road closures and full logistical support.
Riders include double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell, former Tour de France winner Stephen Roche, British Cycling’s Team Sky sports director Scott Sunderland and ex-footballers Geoff Thomas and John Salako.
photos Janos Schmidt