Evita Muzic, the very young FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope cyclist who, against all odds, won the 9th stage of the Giro Rosa.
At just 21 years old, Evita Muzic has managed to establish herself as an international rising star of women’s cycling after having won the ninth stage of the 2020 Giro Rosa in Motta Montecorvino. It was a victory against all odds as her role as a gregarious was meant to support the leader.
It was an important victory for her personal track record and for the team, which has obtained its first victory on the World Tour. In short, Evita Muzic is a living example that, with effort and work, dreams can be achieved.
Like every year, Cambrils Park Sport Village has hosted the FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope’s winter training and had the opportunity to get to know them better.
When did you start cycling? What attracted you to cycling?
I started cycling when I was 5 years old because my older brother and my parents rode bikes. So, I started from a very young age and since then I’ve never stopped.
Despite everything, 2020 has been a good year for you. You won the ninth stage of the Giro Rosa! How do you remember this moment?
It’s my best memory on the bike! We didn’t expect it. At the beginning of the season, the goal was, basically, to be in the top 10 in a world competition. That’s why winning the Giro stage was pure madness and the result of a lot of collective work, especially from my teammate Brodie Chapman, which makes this victory even more beautiful.
Besides, since it was the last stage, we could celebrate it as a team and it is even more engraved in my memory.
This has been your first victory in the UCI WWT category and you are only 21. Do you feel more empowered now? What is your next goal?
It is true that this victory, which has been quite early, has given me confidence and now I believe more in my dreams. It has made me realize that, with work, it is achievable, it is not impossible.
Now I ask myself, why not doing again? Achieving something like this was a long-term goal and since it has come earlier than expected, we are now going to have to keep improving and looking for podiums and victories.
Is being a professional cyclist a dream you always pursued or did it just happen?
I have always combined my studies with cycling, until last year, when I signed a real professional contract and it was too complicated to combine both.
Since I was young, when someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told them that I wanted to be a professional cyclist. But at that time, it wasn’t realistic because in France there weren’t any professional cyclists. Still, I kept believing in it and now it is a dream come true.
You joined the FDJ in 2017 as an intern professional cyclist, and now you are considered an international rising star and an important member of the team. How do you feel about this project?
I really thank them for their trust. I started as an intern in 2017 and I joined the team in January 2018 when I left the junior category. While it is true that this does not happen to everyone, it is becoming increasingly the case.
They have always believed in me, and they have given me the necessary time to reach the highest level. Neither the sporting directors nor I would have imagined that it would have come so fast, and there is still a lot to do! I really appreciate the opportunity and that they have believed in me. At last, this is the reason why we are here now.
The team had two races in Spain in February, “El Gran Premio de Valencia” and “La Setmana Ciclista Valenciana” both have been cancelled because of coronavirus. How is the pandemic affecting your 2021 calendar?
The season will be affected, but we have to be optimistic and think that there are going to race. The first races have been cancelled, but there are still quite a few important races, the Men’s Word Tour included, that will take place.
One has to live from day to day and do all the races as if they were the last one. I just hope that we won’t be confined again, because everything will stop. It is a situation that we have already experienced and although it is not desirable, not everything has been bad. For me, it has been a success, for example. So, we must keep going and stop overthinking as not to see the negative part all the time.
What is your favourite race and why?
Strade Bianche. It is a special race that changes along the roads. I started with cyclocross, so it reminds me of unforgettable moments. It is one of the toughest races, there are roads from the beginning with variable conditions, like last year during the heatwave. If there is a race that makes me dream, is this one.
You are an excellent climber, but you can also be a good sprinter as you proved in the Giro Rosa. How would you define your best skills?
I used to set myself limits telling myself that I was a climber and that, when you are a climber, you can’t be a sprinter. But I realised that at the end of a race I wasn’t doing so bad even when the race had been hard, so I will keep working on this to try to win as many races as possible.
What do you think of having the opportunity to ride in the 1st Women’s Paris-Roubaix that will take place in October?
Finally, the first edition of the Women’s Paris-Roubaix! It is not my type of race, but I would like to do it sometime throughout my career, although it’s too early. I am still young and for a climber, it’s certainly not easy to ride on cobblestones. In any event, it is an achievement that women’s races are starting to become a reality.
This is the 4th training gathering in Cambrils Park Sport Village. What would you highlight of your stays here?
This is the fourth year in a row that I come to Cambrils Park and we are always welcome. The apartments are great, the Resort is large and there are many services available; the gyms, the space for the bicycles, the spa...
When you are welcome, you are always willing to come and attend training gatherings. There are always other teams that might want to come here as well. For a training gathering, I don’t think one can ask for more.
What do you think of Cambrils and the region for cycling?
It is a really good place to ride a bike because you also have the mountain close by and it is always a pleasure to come back from every outing riding by the seaside and through the town of Cambrils. Besides, we can see a lot of cafes still open. It’s an opportunity because in France we don’t have that.
It is nice to see people and that it is lively here, to see the sea because where I live, I’m far from the sea, the weather is always nice.
This week we have been very lucky with the weather, besides we always go against the tide to come to Cambrils Park, so that’s perfect.
Evita, thank you very much and we wish you plenty of success!
Photos: ThomasMaheux | Sean Robinson/velofocus.com