Get to know our Swedish national champion, Sara Penton
When Team VIRTU Cycling Women´s Sara Penton won the Swedish national championships, it was the first time in 7 years that neither Emma Johanson nor Emilia Fahlin took the top step of the podium. Penton first initiated her cycling career in 2013 after a promising career as a soccer played was brought to an abrupt end due to knee injury. Qualifications like determination, passion and will can easily be transferred between sports, which is clearly the case with Sara.
What were your first impressions of the group of girls during the Camp?
“It was a very happy group of girls! Besides training together I really enjoyed the talks we had at mealtimes when we all sat down together and got to know each other better. We shared a whole lot of laughs despite differences in nationality and languages, which eased off the awkward feeling of tension, that can occur when you´re introduced to a new group of people. On the road, it was good to do some specific team exercises where I got know my teammates better to prepare for competing in the season together. Obviously, both Bjarne (Riis) and Carmen (Small) have a lot to teach us and a lot of experience from many years in professional cycling. I really try to soak up everything from specific training tips to the life as a rider besides the training. Bjarne was involved both in the specific training on the road but also had some good input to the meetings we had about the many other aspects of a cyclist´s life”.
What are your goals for the season?
“A big personal goal for me is to defend my road championship title but also to be a part of a successful team during the whole season where we can hopefully make our mark on the events. I think the team can benefit from me the most in terms of my qualities as an all-rounder. I´m at my best in flat to semi-flat courses. I reckon the spring classics suit me pretty well. Most of all, I´m looking forward to being part of a happy team that performs well and have fun together on and off the course.”
How do you prepare for the race in the few hours before the start?
“I usually pack my bag the night before so during the hours before, I just try to relax, listen to some music and get the right energy in for the coming race. Building up the right energy is extremely important in our sport. There are a lot of really strong teams on the World Tour and the competition is fierce out there on the road. I just hope we can work well together and that some great results will follow.”
What are your interests besides the sport?
“I study sports psychology part time besides my cycling and I think it’s very interesting and an important part of professional sport. I think it´s a nice way to regenerate and recharging my batteries. I also enjoy time with family and friends and also love to travel the world. I live with my boyfriend, Oskar who does professional triathlon and naturally, it´s a gift to have someone at home when you return tired.”
How would you spend time if you weren’t a professional rider?
“I would probably work with people in some way, preferably NOT sitting down in an office by the computer. I love to work with and develop other individuals to perform and feel better about themselves and my education brings me in that direction.”