Photo ©Emmie Collinge
As the 2017 season is just around the corner and the pre-season training is getting underway, the last month has been a time of reflection for Tiffany Cromwell since the end of the 2016 season.
Her last race was the Subaru Australia Open Women’s Criterium held 1 1/2 hours north of Brisbane in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. “Noosa is a beautiful part of the world and the race is part of the Noosa Triathlon Multi Sport Festival, a sports festival made up of a number of different events held over 4 days, with the main event being the biggest Olympic distance mass participation triathlon in terms of participation numbers in the world. Other festival events included a 1000m ocean swim, a celebrity triathlon, and a 5000m street run to name a few. It was a nice feeling to win the criterium in front of big crowds to round off a season of ups and downs and leaves me with plenty of motivation for 2017.”
2016 was mixed; in summary it was a season of huge highs, challenges and some lows. But it’s easy for Tiff to pick out the main highlights as she plans for 2017 being her most successful season yet. “The highlight of the season for me was my stage win in the Giro Rosa. It was a pretty special moment to be able to deliver the win after the entire team had backed me 100%. It gave me a huge boost and brought me out of a difficult April/May period where I was just struggling to perform.”
Tiffany had a long season and it started with great momentum. “I started the season in Australia with a podium in the national time trial championships, and then followed it up by opening my European season with a second podium of the season in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The new CANYON//SRAM team has been exciting to be a part of in it’s inaugural year, and the atmosphere within the team and felt from the fans and strong media interest made you motivated to ride well.”
Tiff had dreamt of wearing the colours of Australia in Rio 2016, but the dip in form in the late Spring races pushed down her chances of gaining selection. “I got myself in a bit of a hole, I just wasn’t performing at a time when it was most crucial and that ultimately cost me my chance of making the team for Rio. But on reflection I learnt a huge amount about myself and how to deal with the situation. When I got into the spiral of underperforming I didn’t deal with it so well. My friends, family and teammates, my coach and others in my close support network helped me get out of the slump I was in. I have learnt not to put so much personal pressure on myself over just one race or selection, instead to look more clearly at the season as a whole and focus on each race or goal at a time. This season has also taught me better at how to deal with moments of challenge, many of these lessons I’ve learnt from will certainly make me a better athlete and bike rider in the long term.”
One thing that has really had an impact on Tiff has been the sponsor events she has done with the team, in particular with Rapha. “I have been so proud to work with our sponsors on events. I have seen the traction of womens cycling from a totally different perspective. Most recently my trips to Korea and Singapore showed me how popular cycling is becoming in Asia. It has been a real highlight to see the enthusiasm of fans in emerging cycling countries first hand.”
Now it’s time to use the learning points and reflections of 2016 to build a successful 2017 season. “It’s not long now until we head to our first training camp of the new season in Mallorca, Spain. We will start preparations for 2017, and as I look ahead I am really motivated and excited. In particular the new Ardennes Classics are an exciting new addition to the women’s World Tour calendar and has given me a new focus to work towards. The Amstel Gold race suits my strengths and I am motivated to give it a crack. The World Champioships in Bergan, Norway will be very different to Qatar and much more suited to me as a rider and a big goal for the season.
This time of the season when you finally have a chance to relax, it makes you think and gives you new incentives. We also have one new addition to the Canyon//SRAM team as we are being joined by former World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevost. I think the new signing will add to our overall strength and give the team more dimensions. It further boosts us as a squad, and it will be exciting to see what we can do together!”
Finally, Tiffany would like to thank her team mates, support staff, team partners, personal sponsors, friends, family, personal coach and fans that make everything possible and continue to support her through the thick and thin.