Lotta Henttala Signs With EF Education-Cannondale

Lotta Henttala has signed with EF Education-Cannondale and will race with the new women’s team for the 2024 season in what will be Lotta’s tenth year as a pro. The eleven-time Finnish champ has her sights set on the classics and the Olympics.

Lotta is an eleven-time Finnish national champion, with 5 time-trial titles to her name and 6 on the road. A bold sprinter with a love for the classics, she has won 25 professional races, including Gent-Wevelgem and Dwars Door Vlaanderen and stages of the Giro and the Women’s Tour. Lotta represented her country at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Lotta is also now a mum and her little boy has a cool mum to look up to. Lotta and her husband live in Finland with their child who is now one-and-a-half years old. Balancing parenthood with life as a professional athlete takes some scheduling, but Lotta has no intention of slowing down.

“I still want to see where I can get in cycling, how good I can be,” Lotta admitted. “I had some time off from racing and then I started to think that maybe I didn’t give my one hundred percent for it yet, so I wanted to try and see how that would feel.”

If Lotta hasn’t given one hundred percent yet, watch out! Next year, her initial focus will be the Classics and then the Olympics in Paris.

EF Education-Cannondale general manager Esra Tromp knows Lotta from her own racing days and is very optimistic about the contribution that she will make to the new team.

“I know Lotta as a sprinter who has no fear,” Esra said. “I have always been impressed by her skills on the bike, especially in the last few hundred metres of a race. She can corner extremely well and has no fear in a bunch sprint, which is really important of course for a sprinter. She is one of the best examples of a great one-day racer. She can do really well in the Classics, especially in the races that end in a sprint. She really loves the sport and is not yet done with cycling, so knows what it takes to come back to this level. She knows how to play the game in a finale and will coach her teammates. Lotta brings a lot of experience and skills on the bike.”

Lotta’s experience as a mother adds another positive dimension to our team, Esra thinks. Attitudes to parenthood in the peloton have changed fast in the past few years.

“I would say even five years ago it was rare or there was no one talking about it at all,” Lotta said. “But now I know several riders who are pregnant and having babies soon, or already have babies. It is getting more common now and that is nice. You don’t have to wait until your career is over.”

That’s not the only thing that has changed in Lotta’s time in the sport. Women’s cycling has also progressed a great deal.

“It is more professional and there is much more support for the women,” Lotta said with positivity. “Already in the time I was out, it has changed a lot. There is more TV time, and more time and effort and money is getting put into women’s cycling. And the peloton is riding harder for sure!”

All this serves to increasingly motivate Lotta. More competition will help her get better and better. Lotta still thinks she can get quicker than she has ever been. Women just coming into the peloton now are going to have to ride fast to catch up to her. They will be able to learn a lot from her too.

The biggest lesson Lotta has for her younger teammates is to be persistent. Her family helps her roll over the highs and lows of racing life.

“Don’t give up. That is the lesson I think I would bring,” Lotta emphasises. “And not to think too much. You go to a bike race and then you go home and train and be with your family, and then you come back and see again how the next race goes. You take your chances all the time to get better and better. So, don’t give up. When you have a rough time, it is okay. And have some fun on the bike as well. When you have fun, then normally you have good results as well. Results come when everything is going well and it is balanced.”

It might be a little harder for Lotta to find that balance now, but with the support of her family she knows she will find it and results will come. Her little boy is growing up fast and she wants him to see her win!

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