Photos: Getty Sport
One of the most decorated American cyclists of the past decade, Ruth Edwards, née Winder, will return to the Women’s WorldTour in 2024 as she joins Human Powered Health Cycling.
When she stepped away in 2021, Edwards had already enjoyed success on UnitedHealthcare, Team Sunweb and Trek-Segafredo Women. A stage and the overall victory of the Tour Down Under in 2020, a stage of the Giro d’Italia Donne in 2018 (as well as a day in the pink jersey) and GC wins in the Czech Tour de Feminin and the Joe Martin Stage Race are particular standouts.
In her last season, she took a dramatic victory in the Brabantse Pijl classic, beating 2023 Tour de France Femmes champion Demi Vollering to the line in a last-gasp bike throw where only a photo finish could separate the pair.
“This is an exciting new adventure for me,” the 30-year-old who was born in Yorkshire, UK, grew up in California and now lives in Colorado, said about joining Human Powered Health Cycling.
“I don’t think I had a plan necessarily,” Edwards jokes when asked what made it the right time to return. “I was just really missing it and it has been fun to watch women’s cycling grow and for me in particular, I thought I’d just rather live without any regrets.”
As Edwards’s palmarès show, she’s no stranger to the elements it takes to perform. She’s also looking forward to racing on a team that represents more than just racing.
“I’m excited about working with a team that fully understands the athlete as a performer, physically and mentally, and that tying everything together is the way you get the best out of someone, Edwards explains. “As a human, but also as a professional athlete.”
“It’s important to keep the American culture in an American team,” explains Kenny Latomme, women’s team Performance Manager. “The level is super high now but she believes she can do it. Two years ago she was always close to Vollering in the results but we will see in the early season and then she will be our GC leader.”
One of the changes during Edwards’ self-described “sabbatical” is that she has been able to watch more racing, something that has changed her mindset.
“Hopefully I will be able to use what I’ve learned about myself to be a better athlete,” she explains. “In the past, the never-ending cycle of racing meant that I just needed to be home and then I realized how much I loved racing my bike. I felt that a lot of my identity was tied to it, and I didn’t know what would happen if I stopped racing my bike. Now, with Human Powered Health I can go back and feel secure and that this is something I love to do.”
“It means that when I stop again, my life will always be there, and I don’t have to be scared to leave and I think that’s really powerful to be here 100 percent.”
In the two years she’s been away from the road Edwards converted to a gravel racer, competing across North America in the discipline’s biggest events. She bagged a second-place finish at the 105-mile Leadville Race Series in August of this year.
“I hope by keeping up my endurance base that it will help with the return,” she says. “Gravel racing is like a really long time trial, like seven to fifteen hours – so I’m looking forward to being back in more exciting, dynamic racing.”
One obvious marker of this growth since 2021 has been the return of a Tour de France for women, the most-watched event of the year and one that has truly brought the athletes into the forefront.
“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to race the biggest events,” Edwards says. “The Giro d’Italia Donne is also getting bigger and there’s now a true Vuelta a España so the calendar has changed a lot in the last two years in a really cool way.”
Off the bike, due to living at 8,000ft in Colorado, Edwards can be found skiing in the winter, walking with her dog in the summer and hanging out with her husband Zach. She says she does a little bit of running but jokes “not too much” and is a baker who always has banana bread ready to go.
Human Powered Health is excited to welcome Edwards to the team. Stay tuned for more announcements as our 2024 squad takes shape.