Partners | Evelyn Stevens

Schedule | Evelyn Stevens

SCHEDULE

Highlighted 2014 Race Schedule

DATE EVENT LOCATION
3/27 Trofeo Binda Italy
4/6 Tour of Flanders Belgium
4/23 La Fleche Wallonne Feminine Belgium
5/11 – 5/12 Tour of California United States
5/24 – 5/26 USA Cycling National Championships United States
7/4 – 7/13 Giro Donne Italy
7/14 – 7/20 Thuringen-Rundfahrt der Frauen Germany
7/27 La Course de Le Tour de France France
8/3 Sparkassen Giro Germany
8/22 – 8/24 Open de Suede Vargarda Sweden
8/30 GP de Plouay France
9/21 – 9/27 UCI Road World Championships Spain

From Wall Street to the Mur de Huy | Evelyn Stevens

In the brief span of three years, Evelyn (Evie) Stevens has made the improbable leap from the analyst floor at a New York investment firm to the road course of the Summer Olympics in London.  Her well-documented journey to the bike is the result of fierce competitiveness, sheer athleticism, and a serendipitous discovery of natural talent.  Having found her calling, Evie is now focused on winning a UCI World Championship and bringing home Olympic Gold from Rio in 2016.

Evie was raised in Acton, MA, the youngest of five kids in the Stevens family.  She excelled at a variety of sports while growing up before playing varsity tennis at Dartmouth College.  While in Hanover, Evie studied government with a minor in women’s and gender studies.

Upon graduating in 2005, Evie moved to Manhattan to begin work with Lehman Brothers in the investment banking program.  She attended her first bike clinic in Central Park in the spring of 2008.  With the financial industry in a state of panic, Evie calmly won her first professional race in Union Vale, NY.  A year later, she said goodbye to New York and embarked upon a career as a professional cyclist.

Evie is an offseason resident of San Francisco, CA.  In her spare time, she practices yoga and enjoys reading.  Currently, Evie shares her passion for lifelong health and wellness as an active representative of a select group of related community organizations.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

2014

1st Place, Ladies Tour of Holland
1st Place,Thuringen Rundfahrt der Frauen
1st Place, Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic
1st Place, Pan American Continental Road Championships, Time Trial
4th Place, Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial
3rd Place, USA Cycling Time Trial National Championships
3rd Place, USA Cycling Road Race National Championships

2013

3rd Place, La Route de France
1st Place, Giro della Trentino
3rd Place, Emakumeen Euskal Bira
1st Place, Women’s Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic
1st Place, Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial
1st Place, Merco Cycling Classic
2nd Place, Gracia-Orlova, 1 Stage win

2012

1st Place, Fléche Wallone Féminine World Cup
1st Place, Route De France, 2 Stage Wins
1st Place, Women’s Tour of New Zealand
1st Place, Gracia-Orlova, 1 Stage Win
1st Place, Exergy Tour
1st Place, UCI TTT World Championships with Specialized-lululemon
2nd Place, UCI Road World Championships, Time Trial
2nd Place, BrainWash Ladies Tour in Holland
3rd Overall, UCI World Cup Standings

2011

1st Place, USA Cycling Time Trial National Championships
1st Place Stage 4, Tour de l’Ardèche

2010

1st Place, USA Cycling Time Trial National Championships
1st Place, Chrono Gatineau Rona
1st Place Stage 7, Giro d’Italia Femminile
1st Place Stage 4, Redlands Bicycle Classic
1st Place Stage 6, Nature Valley Grand Prix

Cycling’s One-in-a-Million Story | Evelyn Stevens

Little more than a year ago, Evelyn Stevens was just another associate on Wall Street, working 50-hour weeks with an investment fund and trying to stay in shape by sneaking the occasional jog.

Then she bought a bike.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old former college tennis player will compete in the Route de France, a six-day race that draws some of the world’s top female cyclists. And here’s the part nobody, not even Ms. Stevens, could have imagined just a few months ago: She might just win.

The story behind Ms. Stevens’s dramatic rise from nowhere to the top echelon of an international sport isn’t the usual cliché of hard work, sacrifice and perseverance. In fact, if there’s a lesson aspiring athletes can take from this, it’s that it helps to be blessed with very good genes. The truth is that Ms. Stevens is one in a million: She was lucky enough to stumble into the exact pursuit she was born for.

“She’s the most complete rider I’ve ever come across,” says her coach, Matt Koschara, who has raced against the likes of Lance Armstrong. “I imagine she’s going to some day be world champion.”

Exactly what makes Ms. Stevens so physiologically different is still somewhat of a mystery. Football players have big biceps, and baseball players have incredibly fast reflexes. The exceptional attributes of cyclists and other endurance athletes are less obvious—they’re hidden in their blood and their lungs. For this reason, it’s not uncommon, especially in women’s cycling, for athletes to discover their hidden talents late in life, after leaving other sports like soccer or swimming. “You can have this mild-mannered kind of Clark Kent with glasses working 45 hours a week, and they get on the bike and find they have this tremendous engine,” says Mr. Koschara, who also coaches other cyclists in the New York area.

Ms. Stevens still has not gone through the complete battery of tests that gauge athletic potential, but the tests that have been conducted on her show remarkable results. She is capable of producing a huge amount of leg power—measured in watts—for someone her weight and with her training history. With less than a year on the bike, Ms. Stevens could put out 310 watts of power for five minutes when she was tested by Mr. Koschara this past spring. Most women at her weight of 120-pounds can put out only about 220 watts, he says, while the elite professionals can produce around 350.

Her light weight and high power output allow her to climb uphill faster than anyone she’s faced so far. “That is what makes her the star she is,” says Mr. Koschara.

After playing college tennis at Dartmouth and landing a job at investment bank Lehman Brothers in New York, Ms. Stevens says she was content to leave sports behind. Her exhausting schedule left her with barely enough time for jogging. “That was about the extent of my athletic life,” she says.

On a Thanksgiving visit to Northern California in 2007, Ms. Stevens’s sister and brother-in-law persuaded her to try a cyclocross race, an often-muddy hybrid between mountain and road biking. After numerous falls, she ended the race dirty and sore. “But I had so much fun,” she says.

For the next four months, Ms. Stevens contemplated buying a bike, finally settling on a low-end Cannondale with an extra “granny” gear to help beginners push themselves uphill.

After a few rides, Ms. Stevens realized she wasn’t going to need the granny gear. On a spring bike ride in 2008, she says, a couple of male friends who were bike racers timed her up a hill climb in New Jersey that rises about a mile and a half from the Hudson River to the top of a bluff. A strong male cyclist can do this in just over six minutes. Without any serious training, Ms. Stevens clocked it somewhere in the high fives.

At the end of May, she got her first taste of racing at a clinic in Central Park organized by the Century Road Club Association. There, she found the experience “addictive.” Within a month, she’d won the Union Vale road race, a gruelingly hilly jaunt in upstate New York. She capped the season with a victory over some of the top amateurs in the Northeast at the four-day Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont.

This April, after hiring Mr. Koschara and training hard all winter, she won the country’s largest sanctioned one-day bike race (in participation), the Tour of the Battenkill in upstate New York. Last month, she won her biggest race yet—the Cascade Cycling Classic stage race in Oregon—by a healthy margin.

At the office—investment fund Gleacher Mezzanine, where she worked until last month—Ms. Stevens’s co-workers have been following the action on cycling Web sites. Phil Krall, a managing director at Gleacher who happens to be an avid cyclist, was shocked when she won at Battenkill. And as she kept winning bigger and bigger races, he became more and more shocked. “Everyone is, like, ‘She won again?’ ” says Mr. Krall.

Jim Miller, head of athletics for USA Cycling, says Ms. Stevens’s numbers are impressive when weighed against her limited training background. He estimates that when she climbed up Mt. Bachelor in Oregon, solidifying her win in the Cascade Cycling Classic, she was averaging somewhere around 260 watts for just under a half hour. “It’s good for a girl who’s been riding a bike for a year,” says Mr. Miller.

Karen Brems, manager of the Webcor professional cycling team, which brought Ms. Stevens on as a guest rider for the Cascade race, says the wins have boosted her profile. “I’m sure all the teams are courting her,” she says.

In women’s cycling, where the talent isn’t as deep as it is on the men’s side, women with natural talent can sometimes stand out without much training. Christine Thorburn was a physician at the time she won the national time trial championships in 2004. Mara Abbott was a swimmer at Whitman College when she discovered cycling, and would later win the national road race championships.

A bigger obstacle is the pay: Top women’s professionals make about $30,000 a year, a figure that makes it tempting to try to keep working. Dr. Thorburn continued to practice medicine while cycling competitively.

Most people agree Ms. Stevens could be one of the next great American women cyclists, but there’s no guarantee that she will conquer the world. Connie Carpenter, an Olympic gold medalist in cycling in 1984, calls her ascent “remarkable,” but adds she still has work to do. “The difficult part will be to go from being good to being great,” she says. To become world-class, Mr. Miller says, Ms. Stevens will have to bump up her power anywhere from 6% to 13%.

Working in Ms. Stevens’s favor is her natural ability to grasp tactics. She says her years of playing tennis have helped. “Cycling is a tactical sport and she has good instincts,” says Ms. Brems of Webcor. “When she makes attacks, they are at good times,” she says.

At the end of June, Ms. Stevens left Wall Street and devoted herself to cycling full-time. The sport’s governing body, USA Cycling, sent her to do training sessions on a velodrome with competitors who are almost 10 years younger.

She’s now in Italy, training with the U.S.A. Cycling National Development Team, and enjoying the perks of a professional athlete—or a “wannabe” one, as she put it—like the ability to let her legs recover between workouts. “I just feel fresher when I get on the bike,” she says. Instead of going to the office, she says, “Today, I came back from a ride, ate, surfed the Web, wrote emails, read books, hung out. It’s really nice, actually.”

Evelyn Stevens Takes Another Big Step in Her Improbable Cycling Journey | Evelyn Stevens

In the latest installment of her improbable journey from urban worker bee to one of the queen bees of women’s cycling, Evelyn Stevens won her second straight national time trial championship Thursday in steamy Augusta, Ga., securing an automatic berth on the U.S. team for this fall’s World Championships.

The official time for Stevens — who took a 1-second penalty for starting a fraction early — was just 0.2 seconds faster than her HTC-Highroad teammate, former time trial world champion Amber Neben, over the 18.6-mile course. The pre-race favorite, 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong of Peanut Butter & Co., came in third after being absent last year due to her pregnancy, while HTC’s Amanda Miller was fourth. USA Cycling coaches will select the other rider who will compete at worlds, largely based on head-to-head results this season.

Stevens, 28, was sixth in the time trial at worlds last year.

“This was a huge, huge target for me,” she told ESPN.com after the race. “I’m thrilled. It’s bittersweet, too, to beat Amber.”

Stevens credited the team’s physiotherapist for helping riders deal with high heat and humidity on the rolling course. She plans to race with HTC in Sunday’s road race at nationals, as well.

“We really want that [national champion] jersey on our team,” Stevens said.

Armed with a Dartmouth degree, a dogged work ethic and a quick mind but still unsure of her life’s passion, Stevens worked on Wall Street for four years wearing a suit and feeling uncomfortable in her own skin. She labored for long hours under artificial light and felt herself grow pasty and restive.

“There was a vice president at Lehman Brothers, one of my favorite people I ever worked for,” the cyclist said earlier this month, sitting in the lounge of a downtown Philadelphia hotel, gesturing ardently. “He was patient with me and really helped me learn the ropes. We were talking about synergy and I asked what it was. He’s explaining it to me, ‘These two power plants join; it takes less people to do the job.’ I’m like, ‘What about their families?’ And he just looks at me and says, ‘Oh no. You’re in the wrong job.’

“I felt a lot of times like I was playing dress-up.”

Stevens moved on to another investment house and began riding a bike regularly in early 2008. She had been introduced to bike racing a little more than a year before when a sister — one of her four siblings from Acton, Mass. – coaxed her into entering a cyclocross race in the Bay Area. Within a few months, she’d sunk $1,000 into her first road bike and was daydreaming about trading her office-bound life for a different existence.

By the spring of 2009, she had progressed from winning local races to elite events and decided a skinsuit fit her better than business attire. She gave notice, gave up her Greenwich Village apartment and gave her city garb to her younger sister. She sold some of her furniture on Craig’s List and put the rest out on the corner of West 3rd Street and LaGuardia Place for the taking.

“I’ve learned I don’t need a lot of stuff,” she said. “It’s been liberating.”

After two full seasons of almost pure upside as a professional, Stevens feels a bit more like a marked woman. “It’s different this year,” she said. “People know who I am and there’s a little bit more pressure. It’s wonderful to be completely unknown.”

That was the case in 2009, when Stevens became an instant sensation on the domestic circuit, riding on “composite” teams with other unaffiliated women or as a guest on established teams.

One of Stevens’ co-workers steered her to Connie Carpenter, the Olympic champion and fulcrum of the famous American cycling family that includes husband Davis Phinney and son Taylor.

Carpenter bluntly inquired how much money Stevens had in the bank. “Women’s cycling is not a for-profit adventure, especially at the start,” Carpenter said.

Still, she encouraged Stevens to take the plunge, and has served as an informal adviser ever since.

“She clearly has the will and the physical tools,” Carpenter said. “She’s a great role model for our sport and proof that you can take up cycling later and still be incredibly successful. … She’s sitting on the cusp of greatness.”

Late in 2008, Stevens also began working with her current coach, former pro Matthew Koschara, in New York. Koschara said it was a novel experience to train someone who knew nothing about the sport going in, but downplays his own role.

“Evelyn has everything to do with her own success,” he said. “She was cut out to be a professional.”

Physiological testing showed that the 5-foot-5, 120-pound Stevens was a mighty mite.

“She has a tremendous engine,” Koschara said. “Her explosive power is still being developed, but her aerobic capacity, the level of wattage she can put out, is huge. What she’s missing is that core five to seven years [of experience] that most other riders who are as good as her have.”

The warm, gregarious Stevens was clueless about her own gifts. She played soccer as a youngster and varsity tennis at Dartmouth, a grinder who seldom hit winners but never gave up on a ball.

“I was always that person who had to fight to make the teams,” she said “I was never the star. I had to go above and beyond in everything.”

Even now, Stevens flinches slightly when someone describes her as a great athlete. “You need a lot of luck, and this sport in particular fits my personality and mindset and body type,” she said.

Ask about her first few months as a professional and she pours out a litany of rookie mistakes. There was the time she crashed into German legend Ina Teutenberg at the Redlands Classic. (Teutenberg had stopped to attend to a flat tire; Stevens barreled around a corner at the base of a descent right into her. “Anyone with any experience would have had their head up and not gone plowing into one of the best women racers in the sport,” Stevens said.) There was also the time she was leading a stage race and pinned her bib number on incorrectly.

Stevens is relentlessly self-deprecating about her bike-handling skills, and frets when she gets stuck at the back of the pack and can’t help her teammates.

“I’m hoping someday I’m going to have an a-ha moment,” she said. “Then again, I’m worried I never will. I’m happiest when it’s uphill and hard.”

Motorpacing, riding in close quarters or in the wind, or navigating a technical course can still unnerve her, although Koschara and Carpenter said Stevens has come a long way and hasn’t been shy about seeking help in her home bases of Girona, Spain and Boulder, Colo.

Stevens has already reaped very good returns on her initial investment. Her coach is bullish on her, and said one of the things he most admires is the way she conducts herself.

“I don’t know anyone who’s more charismatic than Evelyn, or more well-intentioned,” Koschara said.

First American to Win Fleche Wallone World Cup | Evelyn Stevens

For the first time in the race’s 15-year history, an American won La Flèche Wallonne Féminine on Wednesday in Huy, Belgium. Evelyn Stevens (Boulder, Colo./Specialized-lululemon), riding for her trade team, passed Marianne Vos (NED/Rabobank Women Team) on the second and final climb up on the Mur de Huy to win on a chilly and occasionally rainy day in eastern Belgium.
In a race that featured 157 riders from 26 different countries, Stevens became the first American woman to reach the podium of La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, completing the 123-kilometer race in 3:26:32.

“It feels amazing,” an exuberant Stevens said after the race. “It’s awesome. This is my favorite race. I wanted to win this more than anything ever. I’ve never been in that situation. She’s, by far, the best, so I had to be lucky and be the stronger one that day. It’s surreal. My team was amazing. I wouldn’t have won it without them.”

All of the riders competing for USA Cycling’s National Development Program finished the race as Andrea Dvorak (Crozet, Va./Team Exergy Twenty12) placed 30th, 1:32 behind Stevens while Kristin McGrath (Boise, Idaho/Team Exergy Twenty12) was 16 seconds behind Dvorak in 35th. Janel Holcomb (San Diego, Calif./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) was 83rd, Tayler Wiles (Sandy, Utah/Team Exergy Twenty12) was 88th and 18-year-old Ruth Winder (Lafayette, Calif./Vanderkitten) was 126th in the final results.

As the women completed their first climb up Mur de Huy, McGrath and Dvorak were riding in the lead group with Holcomb, in the main field, about 15 seconds behind. After the first climb, the race became very aggressive with several riders launching attacks. A group of three riders got away and Stevens and Vos bridged to them. The two dualed up Mur de Huy a second time, alternating attacks before Stevens faked sitting up, allowing Vos to ride ahead. Stevens punched the gas used the sprinters’ legs that earned her the crown in the time trial at the 2011 USA Cycling Elite, U23, Juniors and Paralympic National Championships in Augusta, Ga., to cross the finish line four seconds ahead of Vos.

Andrea Dvorak rode among the leaders throughout the race. (Photo by Casey B. Gibson)”I think it was a really, really hard day out there,” coach Tina Pic said. “It was raining on and off. It was curvy. I think the girls did really, really well. The race was aggressive all day. That was when the three slipped away and then two went later and they didn’t make it with them. It still was a good day.”

Megan Guarnier (Mountain View, Calif./Team TIBCO-To the Top), who finished seventh in today’s La Flèche Wallonne Féminine, and Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich./Team Exergy Twenty12) will join Holcomb, McGrath, Wiles and Winder in contesting Omloop Boresele and GP Stand Roeselare on Saturday and Sunday, respectively for USA Cycling.

OLYMPIC IMPLICATIONS

Stevens’ performance capped a strong all-around day for American riders in this race as Megan Guarnier (Mountain View, Calif./Team TIBCO-To the Top) finished seventh and Amber Neben (Lake Forest, Calif./Specialized-lululemon) placed 14th. The combined strong American performance helped secure valuable UCI’s nation’s rankings points that may prove crucial in qualifying a full squad for the women’s Olympic road race in London this summer. Prior to Fleche Wallone the U.S. was in sixth place and must be in the top five as of May 31, 2012 to qualify the maximum four starters.

Provided she remains in the top 10 of the UCI women’s individual World Cup rankings on May 31, 2012, Stevens’ victory in a 2012 World Cup event may qualify her for an automatic nomination to the American Olympic team. She currently is in fifth place.

Fleche Wallone Femmes
April 18, 2012
Huy, Belgium

FULL RESULTS

PHOTO GALLERY

Fleche Wallone Femmes
1. Evelyn Stevens (Boulder, Colo./Specialized-lululemon) 3:26:32
2. Marianne Vos (NED/Rabobank Women Team) +0:04
3. Linda Villumsen (AUS/GreenEdge-AIS) +0:20
7. Megan Guarnier (Mountain View, Calif./Team TIBCO-To the Top) +0:44
14. Amber Neben (Lake Forest, Calif./Specialized-lululemon) +0:55
30. *Andrea Dvorak (Crozet, Va./Team Exergy Twenty12) +1:32
35. *Kristin McGrath (Boise, Idaho/Team Exergy Twenty12) +1:48
82. Amanda Miller (Fort Collins, Colo./Team TIBCO-To The Top) +6:40
83. *Janel Holcomb (San Diego, Calif./Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) +6:40
84. Ally Stacher (Asheville, N.C./Specialized- Lululemon) +7:16
87. Lauren Hall (Dolores, Colo./Team TIBCO-To the Top) +7:26
88. *Tayler Wiles (Sandy, Utah/Team Exergy Twenty12) +7:29
99. Jennifer Wheeler (Tucson, Ariz./Team TIBCO-To the Top) +10:39
101. Jennifer Purcell (Austin, Texas/Team TIBCO-To the Top) +11:06
117. Samantha Schneider (Milwaukee, Wisc./Team TIBCO-To the Top) +12:08
126. *Ruth Winder (Lafayette, Calif./Vanderkitten) +16:40

*Denotes athletes contesting the event as a part of USA Cycling’s National Development Program.

This Article Published April 18, 2012 For more information contact: dgaylinn@usacycling.org

Evelyn Stevens Wins Exergy Tour | Evelyn Stevens

BOISE, Idaho — Evelyn Stevens won the Exergy Tour following a final-stage breakaway, firmly cementing her claim to a berth on the U.S. Olympic team for the London Games.

Stevens, of Boulder, Colo., took second place in a sprint with Germany’s Claudia Haeusler after the 46.7-mile stage. But the 29-year-old Stevens finished far enough ahead of the pack to beat Amber Neben, of Lake Forest, Calif., for the overall title.

After Neben, Canada’s Clara Hughes finished in third place after five days of racing. Stevens, Neben and Hughes all ride for Specialized-lululemon.

Stevens, a former Wall Street associate, takes home $10,000 for the overall win. She bought her first racing bike in 2008 and then became a cycling phenomenon.

“It’s an honor to race here and it’s an honor to represent the United States, hopefully,” Stevens said. “I’m a little bit later to the sport of cycling, so hopefully people can hear my story and realize it’s never too late or never too early.”

The Exergy Tour wound its way through southwestern Idaho, making stops in the Snake River wine country, the mountains above the historic mining region surrounding Idaho City and concluding on the tree-lined streets just north of Boise’s downtown.

The race had been anticipated as a showdown between three U.S. women: Stevens, the 2011 U.S. time trial champ; Neben, the 2008 world champion; and 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medalist Kristin Armstrong, from Boise. But Armstrong crashed on the first day, suffering a broken collarbone.

Stevens turned pro in 2009 after consulting with 1984 Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter.

“She called me and asked me, `Should I quit my day job,” remembers Carpenter, who works as an analyst for the Exergy Tour.

“I asked her, `Well, how much money are you making at your job now?’” Carpenter said. “But it turns out it was a good decision.”

At a post-race press conference, Stevens said she had no regrets about leaving the investment fund where she worked until 2009.

“This is a lot better than investment banking,” she said.

Armstrong was relegated to watching her teammates on Exergy 2012, instead of racing for the title.

After undergoing surgery Friday, Armstrong said she’d already pedaled her bicycle around her Boise neighborhood and was planning to train in a wind tunnel in San Diego later this week.

“I was going to take a break after the Exergy Tour, anyway,” Armstrong said, before Monday’s final stage.

Armstrong believes her own Olympic time trial hopes are intact, after beating Stevens in three races earlier this year.

“As far as selection criteria goes, I don’t have any worries in my mind,” Armstrong said.

USA Cycling makes its selection on June 15. The United States will likely field a team of four riders, two of whom will ride the London time trial.

Like Armstrong and Neben, Stevens said she’s hoping to be one of them.

“I knew it was a big year, it’s the Olympic year,” Stevens said. “I kind of just did everything I could this off season, and this race season, I put my head down and let my legs do the speaking. If they have done enough speaking, to get me the spot, great. If not, then I think we have amazing women in America that can represent the U.S.”

Cyclist’s Swift Ride From Wall Street to the Olympics | Evelyn Stevens

Four years ago, Evelyn Stevens was working as a Wall Street investment banker and just starting to race bicycles. But she rose through the cycling ranks quickly, and next month she will represent the United States at the Olympic Games in London.

On a recent muggy morning in busy Central Park, Stevens easily weaves her bicycle through many obstacles.

“There’s the horse carriages, there’s the bike buggies, there’s the Rollerbladers,” she says, “the people on their bikes training, the five gajillion joggers, the hot dog stands, the dogs — there’s a lot going in.”

Even while riding up a hill and talking, she’s breathing easily. Stevens knows these roads well. Early on some mornings, they’re used for bike races, and this is where she got her start.

“This is, you know, we’re coming near the Tavern on the Green — some of the races will have the Tavern on the Green sprint,” Stevens says of the spot that many race organizers draw their finish lines. “So, yeah, I remember this very clearly: Always trying to get yourself in the right position, and then go for the sprint.”

One reason she remembers that first race so clearly is that it wasn’t very long ago. The last time the summer Olympics rolled around, Stevens was 25, working on Wall Street, and just starting to train with the racers in Central Park.

“During the Beijing Olympics, I had just bought a bike and had just done a few, maybe my second or third bike race at that point, so still a category 4 — beginner — bike racer.”

“She came into the sport with absolutely no cycling experience at all,” says Matthew Koschara, a former pro cyclist who coached Stevens when she was starting out.

Stevens had always stayed fit; she played tennis in college. But Koschara says that she also had some untapped athletic potential.

“It was so clear early on that Evelyn was one in a million,” he says. “She certainly had the physiology, and she also had the psychology, as well. And with those two, really, it just became clear that she just needed to develop as rapidly as possible.”

And develop, she did. Within a year, Stevens had quit her job and was competing for the United States at the world championships in Switzerland. Then she won two national championships.

Her biggest victory came in April, when Stevens became the first American woman to win the Fleche Wallone in Belgium. After 75 miles of racing, it was just Stevens and the defending champion, Marianne Vos, battling it out wheel-to-wheel, on the steep climb to the finish. In that moment, she says, the roar of the crowd faded away.

“I didn’t hear anything. It just went, like, it was my first real experience of extreme tunnel vision,” Stevens says. “All I could focus on, I was just telling myself, ‘This is now, this is when you do it’ — and just going, digging deeper than I’ve ever dug. I saw her wheel, and then I realized I was coming around it, and then I saw the finish line. And it was the most, yeah, the most exhilarating feeling and experience I’ve ever had.”

Then in late May, Stevens’ Specialized-lululemon team dominated the nation’s largest women’s race, the five-day Exergy Tour in Idaho, where Stevens took the overall title. That race firmed up her spot on the Olympic road race team.

“The Olympics for women’s cycling, it’s one of the marquee events. It’s another time that we get to be on television, which, you know, we don’t get a lot of television coverage,” she says. “So, it’s an opportunity for people to see what we do. And how, you know, we take it just as seriously as the men racing in the Tour de France. For us, the Olympics are huge.”

Stevens has left New York and now lives between races in Boulder, Colo. She says she misses the Central Park bike scene — but she’s also glad she quit her day job.

Hollywood Script Continues for Evelyn Stevens | Evelyn Stevens

PHILADELPHIA — Even in the context of Evelyn Stevens’ short but remarkable career, last Friday, June 1, marked a surreal coincidence.

Four years ago to that day, Stevens, then working in investment banking for a Wall Street firm, participated in her first road cycling clinic in Central Park. She had been smitten by the bike racing bug mere months before, when her sister Angela persuaded her to enter a cyclocross event in the Bay Area.

Stevens celebrated the anniversary by returning to Central Park with a few of her Specialized-lululemon teammates. But this time, she was being filmed by NBC because she had just clinched a slot on the U.S. Olympic team.

After the shoot, Stevens hopped in a rental car and drove down the New Jersey Turnpike to Philadelphia — a trip she said was far more intimidating than any high-speed mountain descent — where she would help teammate Ina-Yoko Teutenberg of Germany win Sunday’s Liberty Classic for the fifth time.

I sat down with Stevens in the same hotel lounge where we’d spoken last year, on the same weekend. In that 2011 interview, Stevens, frank and engaging, told me many amusing anecdotes about her early days in the saddle. Like how she’d come head-down around a turn in one of her first races and plowed into Teutenberg, who was fixing a flat. Stevens feared she would never live it down.

She also gave me a brutal self-assessment. She had physiological gifts but was a mediocre bike handler, uneasy in the close quarters of the peloton. She was confident about her time trialing skills (and was about to win her second national championship in the discipline) and liked steep climbs that winnowed the field and lessened her claustrophobia. But Stevens felt guilty because she couldn’t get to the front of the pack to help her teammates, and she didn’t think she would ever shine on technical courses or the windy, cobblestone-paved roads in the European classics.

That was then.

This year, Stevens has done nothing but win on several different continents. Her bike has become a true extension of her body and, perhaps more importantly, her keen intellect.

“I think last year I hit a point where I was good, but I wasn’t consistently at the top level,” Stevens said. “I’m not in it just to be good. I want to be the best at it.”

In the offseason last year, she decided to slough her skin to reach for excellence.

She had some important help in that regard. First, former Aussie rider and longtime men’s Pro Tour press officer Kristy Scrymgeour put together the sponsorship deals that saved the former HTC-Highroad women’s team from having to disband in an Olympic year and gave riders like her, Teutenberg and 2008 time trial world champion Amber Neben of the U.S. the means to compete.

Then Stevens, who lives in Girona, Spain, during the cycling season, decided to make her U.S. base the cycling capital of Boulder, Colo., which is also home to the Carpenter-Phinney clan. Mentored from early on by Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter, Stevens has become a de facto member of the family, which includes two Grand Tour stage winners — Carpenter’s husband, Davis Phinney, and their soon to be 22-year-old son, Taylor.

“They’re the kindest family,” Stevens said last week. “They understand the physical and mental demands of cycling. I didn’t come from this world, so it’s easy to get lost in who to listen to.”

Stevens rented a flat with Taylor Phinney — her younger, much taller and more seasoned surrogate brother — and began working with his coach, Neal Henderson, at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. She bought a mountain bike and began following Taylor down twisting descents. She rode on an indoor track with under-23 men and junior boys, leaning into the curves, abandoning her body to centrifugal force while keeping a firm grip on the handlebars. She also hired a sports psychologist to train her between the ears.

“You kind of have to up the nervous factor,” Stevens said. “Put yourself into thinking quicker and trusting the bike more. That’s been the biggest thing: ‘I can do this, I watch everyone else do it. It’s not brain surgery.’”

Stevens’ light-bulb moment came in a small race in Italy earlier this year. “It was a circuit race, and normally I would struggle, but I found myself in and out of the corners, no problem, feeling how the flow of the peloton works,” she said.

In April, Stevens won the Fleche Wallonne classic in Belgium — one of the showcases of women’s cycling, run on the same day and same famous course as the men, with the attendant crowds and media coverage. It was her third try at the race, and another gauge of how far she’s come.

She was still cubicle-bound on Wall Street in the spring of 2009 when longtime race promoter John Eustice emailed her a photo of Dutch star Marianne Vos winning at Fleche Wallonne. “He said, ‘Study this rider. Study how she finishes the race,’” Stevens said. She stared at the photo on her computer, transfixed.

In 2010, Stevens underestimated the pitch of the uphill finish on the famous Mur de Huy and slid from second to fifth in the last excruciating 100 meters. In 2011, she launched “what I wouldn’t call the smartest solo attack” with 43 miles to go and was caught.

This year, Stevens tried to control every variable that could possibly sap her in the week leading up to Fleche — healthy food, ice baths after training and early bedtime. “I call it my monk lifestyle,” she said. “And yeah, it gave me the confidence that I was prepared.”

This time, she passed Vos on the climb and crossed the finish line first.

“It was probably the coolest day of my life,” Stevens said.

Tired of these Hollywood-type scenes yet? Got one more for you.

Stevens’ overall win in the Exergy Tour, a five-day race in Idaho in late May, clinched an Olympic berth for her via a formula of results and international ranking. But that wasn’t her favorite moment of the event. No, that came when Stevens crested a climb in the last stage of the race on a two-woman breakaway and saw her sister, Angela — yes, the sister who lured her into the sport in the first place — “screaming and running beside me like a maniac.”

Cue the string section.

At this point, Stevens is assured of a spot on the four-woman U.S. Olympic road race team only. She’ll learn whether she’s been selected as one of two time trial entrants on June 15 when rosters are announced by USA Cycling, but she would seem to be in a good position. Her presumed competition would be Neben and 2008 Olympic time trial gold medalist Kristin Armstrong, who looked to be in great form before breaking her collarbone in Idaho. (Armstrong, who is training again, has said she is capable of being fully fit by the Olympics.)

Stevens will race at the national championships later this month — the last time the men’s and women’s road nationals will be held separately — and at the Giro Donne stage race in Italy that starts June 29. And this just in: She intends to stay in the sport at least through the 2016 Rio Games.

Scrymgeour was floored at how many early-morning recreational riders and pedestrians recognized the petite figure in the black-and-white kit in Central Park last Friday. “Evie is a confidence rider,” she said. “After Fleche Wallonne, nothing can stop her.”

Last year at this time, Stevens was a feel-good story. Now, she’s become a flat-out great story, and a tangible example for anyone who has ever considered ditching the rat race for a more compelling pursuit. She has the potential to become a transformative athlete in her sport, a woman who can broaden the American fan base the way Mia Hamm did in soccer or Cammi Granato in ice hockey.

“You just can’t put caps on what you think you can do,” she said. “I think that’s the big thing I’ve learned this year. Anything is possible. Who knows what kind of race you can win and what kind of thing you can do? Maybe with cycling last year I put a cap on what I thought I could do, and then this year I just kind of let go of it.

“So often, people want to put people in boxes. Just try. If you fail, you can fail and fail and fail, and that’s how you learn to get better.”