Eukene Larrarte is one of four Spaniards competing in the inaugural UCI Track Champions League, and just last week signed for team Bizkaia-Durango ahead of the 2022 season.
But her journey to elite level cycling is unconventional. Just four years ago she was a goalkeeper for Toloso CF in the fourth tier of the Spanish football league.
It is a path rarely trodden, the switch between two incredibly different sports. Deceuninck-Quick Step rider Remco Evenepoel played at youth level for PSV Eindhoven and Anderlecht, and even captained Belgium’s national side in the same group. He made the switch to cycling at the age of 17, following in the footsteps of his father Patrick Evenepoel.
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But Larrarte’s journey is stranger still. She swapped to a sport in which neither she, nor her family, had any experience whatsoever.
And the 23-year-old is the first to admit that the swap was not planned.

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“My change from being a goalie to a cyclist was not premeditated,” she told Eurosport.
“My Dad cycles for fun but I’m not from a cycling family like many others here.
I started cycling on Sundays for fun and then joined a team in my town."
What’s more remarkable still is how rapidly Larrarte became an elite rider. She won the 2019 Euskadi youth time trial in the Basque County, raising eyebrows in the cycling world.
And just two years later she was among the shining starts at this year’s World Track Championships in Roubaix.
Now, she is among the select few representing her country at the Track Champions League.
While she may lack the experience of other riders her age, this has clearly not held her back from competing with the best.
Quite the opposite, Larrarte is loving the sport as though it were still brand new.
“I’m only 23 and I’ve only been doing it for a few years,” she added.
I don’t have the experience of people my age, but I’m enjoy it like I was a child.
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The UCI Track Champions League returns for round two on November 27 and you can watch all of the action live from 16:30 GMT on the Eurosport app, and discovery+. Find out more about the "mind-blowing" new era for track cycling.
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