Flavia Oliveira

FLAVIA OLIVEIRA

  • Location: Livermore, California
  • Age: 33
  • Occupation: Professional Cyclist

I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and started my athletic career in the swimming pool. I swam competitively for many years alongside my younger brother whom had lost his legs due to a contaminated polio vaccination when he was 2 ½ years old. Through all his surgeries and difficulties he always excelled and became multiple national champ in the para category, setting records and qualifying for the Para-Olympics. He has never given up and is my hero, my role model and inspiration. He definitely sets the bar high for a little brother.

After suffering tendinitis in my shoulders forced me to stop swimming, I decided to try something different that would focus on lower body strength. Moving to the USA at the age of 16, I took up soccer during my senior year in high school. My soccer success gave earned me an athletic scholarship at Fresno State in 2000.

Deciding to concentrate on my education I then transferred to Fresno City College where I pursued a degree in Physical Education. Still I could not stay away from sports and in 2002 we won conference in soccer. I also enjoyed competing in track and field. In 2004 I lost my father to cancer and decided that it was time for a change. Moving to Monterey, California I ran my very first half marathon. In 2005, I decided to buy a bicycle and give triathlons a try. My very first race at the Olympic Distance Triathlon I came in 5th. I was thrilled! I celebrated many podium finishes including a 1st place at Treasure Island, my last triathlon race.

I was introduced to the famous coach, Dr. Massimo Testa. who convinced me to try bike racing. His logic was that it would be very difficult for me to become a professional triathlete with working and school part-time while needing to train for three different modalities. This hectic lifestyle left little time for recovery. I decided to focus on just bicycle racing and competed in my very first bike race. I won it! I fell in love with the sport of cycling. I quickly called Dr. Testa to thank him. I moved up quickly through the ranks and became a Category 1 (professional) the next year. In 2008, I won the Cal Cup and the California State Championships for climbing. In 2009 I was invited to race professionally with the team Michela Fanini; the longest standing professional women’s racing team in Italy. It was a dream comes true. For the 2011 season, I was excited to be going back to Tuscany to race for Team Fenixs-Kuota.

Just when I thought I would never find the right sport for me, it found me. And now, that dream that I had as a young child growing up in Brazil, has become a reality. Being in Europe gave me an opportunity to make myself known to the Brazilian Cycling Federation, and opened many doors and possibilities; South American Games, Pan American Games, World Championships and the Olympics.

I would love to continue this journey and there are many obstacles in which we women have to overcome in our sport that may interfere with the pursuit of these goals. I train and dedicate myself to being and becoming the best cyclist/athlete I can be, but without external help, the results of this hard work may never be known. I am hoping my dream of becoming an Olympic athlete will soon be a reality. Other areas of interest for me are helping collect used cling items for a youth cycling project in Brazil, I am also on the board of the California chapter for the ALS Foundation which we started after a friend’s husband passed away form this awful disease. Other facts: I have broken my clavicle 2x …first time I also broke 4 ribs…the second time was right before trying to make the London Olympics. I speak for languages: Portuguese, English, Italian and Spanish. On to learning French next. I like learning new languages!!!

My favorite colors: red, blue, black and pink! Favorite movies: Man on fire, remember the Titans, Over the Hedge, Ironman, Transformers

Favorite food: sweet potatoes!!!duh!! I love all fruits & veggies , pickles, honey mustard, kettle corn, dark chocolate. I love (lactose free) chocolate milk, coconut water and sparkling water.

Hobbies: hiking, home projects with the hubby, skiing/snowboarding, mt biking, doing/teaching x training classes , Pilates/yoga. Cooking (sweet potatoes something or other, or chopping up stuff for salads is the extent of my cooking) hanging with family, and friends. Of course as a good “carioca” Brazilian chick I love the beach 😉

STRENGTHS

  • Climbing 100%
  • All Around 100%

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

2014

UCI International Rank 24

  • 1st Vuelta Femenina a Costa Rica, Stage 1 and 4
  • 1st Vuelta a El Salvador, Stage 3
  • 2nd Tour of the Gila, Stage 1 and GC
  • 2nd Vuelta Femenina a Costa Rica, GC
  • 2nd Grand Prix de Oriente
  • 2nd Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau 3rd Vuelta a El Salvdor, Stage 1
  • 4th Vuelta a El Salvador, Stage 4 and GC
  • 4th Pan American Road Race Championships
  • 5th Vuelta Femenina a Costa Rica, Stage 2 (ITT)
  • 5th Vuelta a El Salvador, Stage 2
  • 5th Philadelphia Cycling Classic
  • 7th Grand Grix GSB
  • 7th Tour Cycliste Feminin International d’Ardeche
  • 22th UCI World Road Race Championships

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