Lotta Lepistös Weg zum Top-Sprinter
There are many stories around in cycling about athletes focusing on their careers on the bike but also simultaneously other interests in life, like education or entrepreneurship. For Lotta Lepistö, sport is what she loves.
“I’m focusing on cycling right now, and sometimes I probably focus too much on it and not thinking about other stuff,” the Finnish national champion says.
After completing school, she says she was “searching herself” as she didn’t know what she wanted to do. She started studying international business and hated it, so she stopped.
Then a few weeks of volunteer work at a foster home helped her along in her journey to becoming a full time cyclist. “The kids had some troubles of course but they were so nice. The really treated me well and asked me to help them with sports. They just wanted me to take them running and they loved sports, same as me. That was really inspiring.”
Lepistö got her first bike aged 8 and enjoyed riding it in the summer months on family holidays to Gran Canaria. Until 18, she was still focused on swimming too. Sport has always been her first love.
She has spent a great deal racing in Belgium in search of a professional contract. Management from the Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team spotted her ability, particularly how she navigated through the peloton with great ease and the sprint she packed at the finish.
Lepistö was offered a guest spot on the team for the rest of the 2013 season after winning local races in Belgium and the Netherlands. She’s been on the team ever since where she’s developed every year, now one of the best riders in the world.
Last year was a breakout season, when she won her first professional race outside of her national championships after consistently placing in the top ten.
Her aim coming into this year was to convert some of those top tens into victories and she’s successfully done so, winning the prologue in Euskal Emakumeen Bira then sprinting to victory on stage 2 of Festival Elsy Jacobs.
The success is probably due to the time she’s putting into her career and trying to limit distractions. “At the moment I’ve decided to focus 100% on cycling. I’ve taken a break from studying. I’m giving it my all,” she says.