Photo © Kirsty Baxter
“I leave the Australian National Championships satisfied that I achieved what I mostly wanted to achieve. Confirmation that my training is on the right track, I’m in a good place for this time of the year and in a strong headspace. I am on track and where I want to be.” Tiffany Cromwell finished the road championships on Sunday in 8th place after a race that followed a similar pattern to previous years, and was won by Orica-AIS rider Amanda Spratt. Tiff knew before Sunday that pulling on the coveted jersey was always going to be a major challenge without any team mates and the way the race played out meant the jersey dream will stay firmly in place for another year.
“I am happy personally with my own performance. The nationals are always a challenge and again it became a bit of a Mexican stand off. No one wanted to show their cards too early and the race was dominated by the tactics of Orica-AIS, which is no surprise. Perhaps the only things that could have been done differently was for all the individual riders to chat and see what could be achieved, but with so much at stake that was unlikely to ever happen.”
Coming into the race as a favourite and heavily marked rider, Tiff always planned to be patient, conservative and look towards the end of the race to make her main moves and she did that. “I covered the dangerous moves when they happened but obviously I couldn’t cover everything when the attacks finally came in their masses in the final laps. Remember I am not superhuman so your legs only have so many blows to give to your opponents! I was pleased that despite we were only sprinting for 6th in the finale, I actually got the sprint right for once, I normally hit out way too early on this course. I also did stick to my plan of not wasting my energy unnecessarily and of having a crack on the final climb, with the break just ahead it had to be done but unfortunately I couldn’t close the gap. Now I am going to take really positive memories from the last few days and bring the motivation into my next races.”
Tiffany has a busy programme from now on. First up will be the Santos Womens Tour Down Under, then the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race before a quick depart for the Ladies Tour of Qatar. “The next block of racing will set up the spring classics season which holds some of my major objectives this year. I am excited to be racing the Tour Down Under with the South Australia Insitute of Sport team. The mens Tour Down Under is the first race I ever saw as a youngster, just after I was introduced to cycling. I have many great memories following it around and watching the race on my home roads, the roads I grew up training on.”
“It’s so exciting that we finally have a women’s edition that has been growing over the last couple of years. Racing with the South Australian Institute of Sport team will also be great, as it’s an integral part of my roots in this sport. I came through their talent search programme initially before being supported by them in my junior years through to the junior worlds and onwards from there. We will have a young team for the race, so it will be nice to give something back and help the girls throughout the race. It will be a stronger field this year with its upgraded UCI 2.2 status with a number of international teams taking to the start line including Orica-AIS, Wiggle-High5, Hitec Products and the new US squad Cyclance. With UCI points at stake, it could be a good place to open up the 2016 tally. Lets see what we can achieve!”