Tiffany 7th in a hectic La Course by Le Tour de France

Photo ©Marshall Kappel

Tiffany Cromwell’s latest racing trip took her to one of her favourite cities in the world, Paris for La Course by Le Tour De France.  In only its 3rd edition it’s a race Tiff enjoys and was given the opportunity again by the team to try and take a top placing. “After my stage win in the Giro Rosa from a bunch sprint and the likelihood of this race finishing in a sprint, my CANYON//SRAM team backed for the final and gave me the opportunity to go for the result. La Course is always a hectic race with a lot of crashes, we have seen that over the course of its existence and this year was no difference. Everyone wants to shine as it’s one of the few races on the calendar broadcasted live globally and huge crowds line the course creating an awesome atmosphere. With this comes a lot of nervousness in the peloton as racing on the iconic Champs-Élysées is a big moment for every bike rider.”

Tiffany is continually working hard to increase her power and perfom well in bunch sprints as it is a great asset to have in the women’s peloton. “Being the protected rider in the team for a race means you have to deliver, it can be a lot of pressure but when your team believes in you it makes you more confident. I am still a little inexperienced in being the dedicated sprinter as often I play a support role in a bunch sprint final, but the win in the Giro Rosa gave me confidence in my ability and know that I’m capable of delivering in a sprint when that’s my role.”

©Marshall Kappel

The early part of the race was, however, a little stressful. “I punctured early on which meant I had to chase back after a wheel change but I recovered from that and was able to get back to the peloton quickly.  The surface of the Champs-Élysées is tough to ride on, cobbles make up 80% of the course making it a bumpy ride, combined with the wear and tear of the road and potholes etc. you have to stay concentrated to avoid misfortune.”

Unfortunately throughout the race we had our fair share of misfortune within the team. Both Alexis and I had punctures during the race and Barbara come down in one of the crashes, fracturing her elbow forcing her to abandon the race. That was a real blow and put us down to just 4 riders for the remainder of the race.”

Despite the teams misfortune, on the run in to the line Tiff had avoided the numerous crashes and was ready to give it her all. “There were a few big crashes, a couple that were a close call for me, including one with 3km to go where I had riders leaning on me and crashing beside me but luckily I was able to stay upright. That’s the rough and tumble of bike racing.

In the final Ellen Van Dijk of Boels Dolmans put in a strong solo attack at 2km to go as teams struggled to form organised lead outs. Alena did a huge turn for me chasing down Van Dijk and bringing me to the front until just under 1km to go. As riders started to come around I was able to quickly jump onto those wheels and still be in contention for the final. We caught Van Dijk in the last few hundred metres but as we went around the final corner I was on the outside and then got a little boxed in trying to find a clear line to start my sprint to the finish. I lost a little bit of my momentum, and on that final, once you lose your momentum on the cobbles it’s very hard to recover from it. I felt like I had good power and gave it everything sprinting up the cobbles but couldn’t manage any higher than 7th on the day.”

Next up is a trip to London for the Prudential RideLondon Classique taking place in central London.  “This weekend is very important for the team.  We have Hannah Barnes racing as current British Champion in her home event and of course Rapha one of our major team partners are based in London. The atmosphere should be huge and the race has live TV coverage too. Record prize money is up for grabs with 100,000 euros total prize money for the race, so we are pretty motivated as a team. I am really looking forward to it!”

After London, Tiffany will move into the final phase of the season. “I have 3 weeks of no racing after this and will use it to train hard in what I call a rebuild phase of the season.  My eyes are then set on the next UCI Women’s World Tour races in Sweden, my remaining race schedule and of course the World Championships in Qatar.”

You can follow Tiffany on Twitter and Instagram @tiffanycromwell

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