- United States (also known as USA) cycling star
In 2010, Mara Abbott became the first American to win the Giro Donne overall classification. Photo: CJ FarquharsonDate of Birth: November 14, 1985
Height: 5'5"/1.52 m.
Weight: 115 lbs./52 kg./8.2 st.
Place of Birth: Boulder, Colorado
Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
Residence: Boulder, Colorado
Pro Teams: Webcor Builders (2007), HTC-Columbia (2008-2009), Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 (2010), Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan (2011)
Education: BA in economics from Whitman College
Olympic Experience/UCI World Championships Results
- 2007 Road World Championships — Stuttgart, Germany (45th overall)
- 2009 Road World Championships — Mendrisio, Switzerland (18th overall)
- 2010 USA Cycling Elite Road National Champion, Road Race
- 2007 USA Cycling Elite Road National Champion, Road Race
- 2007 USA Cycling U23 Road National Champion, Time Trial
- 2007 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Champion, Division II — Road Race, Individual Omnium, Team Time Trial
- 2006 USA Cycling U23 Road National Champion, Time Trial and Road Race
- 2006 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Champion, Division II — Road Race, Individual Omnium, Team Time Trial, Criterium, Team Omnium
- 2005 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Champion, Division II — Road Race, Team Time Trial, Team Omnium
- 1st place — 2010 Giro Donne — Stage 8, 9, Overall
- 1st place — 2010 Tour of the Gila — Overall
- 1st place — 2009 Giro Donne — Stage 3, King of the Mountain jersey
- 1st place — 2008 Tour of Toscana — Lari-Volterra stage
- 1st place — 2008 Tour de Feminin Krasna Lipa — Stage 1
- 1st place — 2008 Redlands Bicycle Classic — Prologue
- 1st place — 2008 Mount Hood Stage Race — Stage 4
- 1st place — 2007 Tour of the Gila — Stage 2, Overall
- 1st place — 2007 Redlands Cycling Classic — Stage 1
- 2nd place — 2009 Redlands Bicycle Classic — Individual Time Trial
- 2nd place — 2009 Giro Donne — Overall
- 2nd place — 2008 Giro de Trentino Alto Adige — Stage 2
- 2nd place — 2007 Montreal World Cup
- 2nd place — 2007 International Tour de Toona — Stage 6, Overall
- 3rd place — 2009 Giro Donne — Stage 7
- 3rd place — 2009 Emakumeen Bira — Stage 4, Overall
- 3rd place — 2009 Giro della Toscanna — Stage 4
- 3rd place — 2008 Gracia-Orlova Tour — Stage 1
- 4th place — 2009 Durango-Durango Emakumeen Saria
- 4th place — 2009 Giro Donne — Stage 4, 6
 At the 2007 Collegiate Road National Championships, Abbott won the road race and individual omnium and was part of Whitman College's team time trial winning squad. Photo: Casey B. Gibson
As a teenager, Mara's first racing experience was in the harsh, sandblasted, yet ethereal desert south of Moab, Utah. She went there to compete in a 24-hour mountain bike race at the invitation of a friend who asked her to be part of a junior women's team. There were no high-tech team kits, only dyed tank tops for jerseys. Instead of clipless pedals, Mara raced with flat pedals over the unyielding rocky terrain. She would remark later that "miraculously, we didn't die," and the experience proved inspiring enough for her to continue mountain biking for the next year.
She was a swimmer before she was a cyclist, so when she entered Whitman College in 2004 it made sense for her to keep doing what she knew — long-distance freestyle events. Swimming at Whitman, however, was a seasonal sport, and she was so accustomed to swimming year-round that when spring arrived so did uncertainty as to what to do next.
Her solution to filling the void left by swimming was to try collegiate cycling. She won a cherry pie in her first race. The pastry confirmed that Mara had talent; the national title for the Divison II Women's Road Race that she won at the end of the season proved it.
She turned pro in 2006. In her second year as a professional cyclist won the U.S. Elite National Championships road title and placed fourth in the time trial, took a podium placing in the Montreal World Cup, won the Tour of the Gila and represented the U.S.A. at the road World Championships.
2010 marked a banner year for Mara, starting with the distinction of being the first American to win the Giro Donne (or the Giro Ciclistico Internazionale Femminile).
She will be joining a team based in Italy (also known as ITA) , Safi-Pasta Zara-Manhattan, for 2011 but will be able to do focused racing programs in both the U.S. and in Europe. To balance out the intense training required of a professional road racer, Mara practices and teaches vinyasa yoga in her native Boulder, Colorado.
Points of Interest
• When she first told some of the students on her college cycling team that she would race with them, she regretted it. But since she had made the promise, she raced.
• She was "introduced" to the president of her college when she totaled her car in front of his house. That lasting impression has since been eclipsed by her brilliant cycling career and the president wrote to tell her as much.
• She is dedicated to her yoga practice. At the 2009 Giro Donne, she did a yoga podcast each morning before the stage — on hotel balconies, in basements, in abandoned lots. The grounded, soothing, and joyful sensation she gained also freed her mind and she ended up second overall and first in the King of the Mountain classification...coincidence?