Team MTB

Barbara Benko

Place of residence: Pilisvörösvar, Hungary
Age: 32
Height: 1,74 m
Nickname: Barbi
Rider type: All-rounder
Previous teams: Ghost Factory Racing, Focus XC Team

Who or what particularly motivated you to pursue a career in cycling?

I didn’t start cycling because I wanted to become a professional athlete, I just loved being outside on my bike and enjoying nature. My parents literally couldn’t get me off the bike and it turned out I had some talent. I found myself with a professional contract after just leaving the junior category. To this day, I’m very happy that I can call my passion my job and I still haven’t lost the fire for cycling that I had as a kid.

Greatest cycling successes?

Wins at the national championships in all disciplines I wanted: XCO, XCM, Cyclocross, Road and TT (Time Trial). U23 World Cup overall 2nd silver at the World Championships and silver at the European Championships in the junior category. London 2012 Olympic Games.

What sets you apart in cycling?

I can concentrate for a very long period of time and I can be ruthless when chasing a dream/goal, so I will try to work harder than anyone else, no excuses and I never give up!

What are your goals for the season?

I want to get my XCO National Champion jersey back and qualify for the Olympics. And of course the World and European Championships will also be in my focus, I want to get back into the top 10 and back on the podium on the short course!

Do you have a personal racing ritual?

Not really, I have things that I try to always do the same, like when I have my last meal before the race or what I eat and my warm-up protocol, but I don’t want to have strict rituals.

What does cycling mean to you?

For me, cycling means freedom, it’s my passion, it’s where I feel happy and content. Of course the competition side brings a lot of pressure and stress, but I also like it and it forces me to constantly get out of my comfort zone, so I can push my limits and do things I never thought I could do.