When you speak to Ellesse Andrews, the excitement and enthusiasm she has for her sport hits you straight away.
The two-time junior world champion is itching to hit the boards at the third round of the UCI Track Cycling World Cup in Hong Kong beginning this Friday afternoon.
She’s familiar with the venue, having been part of the bronze medal-winning New Zealand team pursuit in January this year, but she’s no longer part of the endurance program.
Eight months ago the 19 year old made the curiosity-inspired decision to switch to sprinting.
“My physiology meant that I was able to do both,” she explains.
“I was able to ride a fast [individual] pursuit and team pursuit and put out some good times but I was also curious to what I could do in this form of cycling.”
Andrews is not a complete rookie to sprinting.
She won her first world title in 2016, combining with Emma Cumming to win the team sprint in Switzerland.
A year later she claimed gold in the individual pursuit in Italy which, along with silver in the team pursuit, saw Andrews win the Emerging Talent award at the Halberg Sports Awards.
However, Andrews has no plans to switch back to the longer distances in the future.
“I have a really clear pathway towards Tokyo next year.
“I’m going to aim for that, do my best to get to that, but also look past that – I’m just going to see where sprinting takes me.”
It took her to the top of the podium at last month’s Oceania Championships in Invercargill, where Andrews won the keirin, defeating a field that included New Zealand teammates Natasha Hansen and Olivia Podmore as well as top Australian sprinters Stephanie Morton and Kaarle McCulloch.
Earlier in the meeting Andrews combined with Podmore to claim silver in the team sprint.
The pair joins forces again in Hong Kong, with Natasha Hansen to ride with Podmore in fourth World Cup meeting in Cambridge from the 6th to 8th of December, before Andrews links up with Hansen to complete the rotation in Brisbane a week later.
Andrews has set simple goals to achieve of the course of the next three weekends.
“In the team sprint, just going through the process to put down the best ride that I can technically and physically, and when I’m riding the sprints, just working through tactics and getting those dialled in.
“I’m just so motivated,” she adds quickly.
“I absolutely love this feeling when you’re so driven towards your goals that you’ve set for yourself that there’s absolutely nothing that’s going to get in your way.”