Cyclist Amber Pate joins the Team BikeExchange-Jayco World Tour women’s team

Amber Pate had a bike growing up in a small town in the Northern Territory, but there were no competitions, no academies and, as far as sports go, she was a swimmer.

But after a three-month stint overseas with the Australian Cycling Team, she was selected to compete in the World Tour.

The great achievement of the track and road cyclist was not always her dream.

She hadn’t even set foot in a velodrome until two and a half years ago and as a child all she knew was that the Tour de France existed on television but it wasn’t. never something she wanted to win.

“It never occurred to me that cycling was something you could do as a sport,” she said.

Challenging race to the top

Pate, 27, has been signed to join the BikeExchange-Jayco team, which competes in the UCI Women’s World Tour, the prestigious Tour de France, the Olympics and other elite women’s events.

Amber Pate has transitioned from triathlon to track and road racing.(Provided)

She turns pro with fellow athletes Alyssa Polites, Blake Quick and Rudy Porter after finishing second to Grace Brown (who placed fourth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics) at this year’s national time trial championships.

“I guess it’s a really surreal feeling,” she said.

The significance of this milestone was barely settled when the contract was signed after months of learning about an almost foreign sport.

“I didn’t think you could have a career in your sport, I guess…I just didn’t have that advice in my life,” she said.

“The second I stepped foot in cycling, it opened up [my] eyes to realize, you know, what can actually come out of it.”

She said she decided to do the best she could.

“I didn’t know what it would be because I felt like I started late in life,” she said.

“I was afraid it would limit me.”

But his later departure could be the reason for his success.

Pate had followed a slow path to team selection after changing college degrees to nursing, finance and then clinical exercise physiology in the years following his move from his hometown of Katherine to Adelaide after high school.

Four female cyclists are lined up in the velodrome.
Pate represented Australia at the Track Nations Cup in Canada.(Provided: UCI Cycling)

“I started triathlon because I loved swimming,” she said.

“I did swim club as a kid in Katherine and I was like, ‘Oh, I can swim. I have cycled several times”.

“It got to the point where more often than not I got in trouble with my triathlon coach for riding too much because I loved it so much.”

She said her contract involved moving to Spain next year.

It also meant stability in a male-dominated sport after years of scratching while juggling college and two jobs.

“I worked in restaurants at night and during the day either studying or having another day job,” she said.

“It was exhausting on my feet.”

I can’t be the one you can’t see

A young girl on a horse.
Pate attributes small-town life in part to his success today.(Provided: Amber Pate)

Pate said she didn’t have a defining moment or person that shaped her as a junior competitor into what she has become.

Instead, she credited her middle school teachers, her parents, and growing up in a small town.

“I loved swimming when I was a kid,” she said.

“So I knew I wanted to go to the Olympics. I’ve always had something in me that’s been there.”

She said she didn’t have a mentor to make her realize it was possible until later in life.

“My determination is definitely something from my parents, my father, in particular,” she said.

About Walter J. Leslie

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