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2022 Mountain Bike MTB photos from the Downhill DH World Cup in Lourdes, France

Mountain Biking Athlete

Izabela Yankova

Bulgaria Bulgaria


Fearless, naturally gifted, and extremely fast: Izabela Yankova is the full package. Hailing from the town of Teteven, Bulgaria, she grew up riding BMX at the foot of the Stara Planina Mountain. Inspired by mountain bike videos on YouTube, she saved up enough money to buy her own downhill bike to follow her passion for riding the mountains. After winning the very first race she entered, Izabela doubled down on pursuing her international racing career. As a young teenager in 2018, she started traveling to official races in a van with her supportive father, grinding out 17-hour trips to events across Europe in the process. Never losing sight of the dream and always willing to work hard, Izabela started garnering attention and sponsorship opportunities on the junior circuit. 

The work paid off and 2021 was her breakout season: In one fell swoop, Izabela clinched the European Championship title in the IXS European Downhill Cup, as well as the 2021 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. But despite these accolades, the stoke of riding always comes first for the prodigy: “The goal in any sport is to finish with the best score, but it would be ridiculous to spend the whole game staring at the scoreboard.” Now traveling the world and riding the most epic courses on the planet, Izabela is taking it one race at a time, always true to her motto: “If you’re not doing what you love, you’re wasting your time!”