Photo ©Tino Pohlmann
Adelaide. Home for Christmas! The end of the 2016 campaign with lots to look forward to for 2017. Tiffany Cromwell arrived back in the warmth of Australia last week after the first get together of the CANYON//SRAM team ahead of the new season.
“I feel refreshed and motivated. I have just finished a big month of pre-season training, but I’m feeling relaxed and content with where my form is at, and ready to get the 2017 season underway. The training camp in Mallorca was our first time getting together for the 2017 season after the off-season break. We were able to reflect on 2016 and how we could improve as a team. Set the foundations for 2017, create a lot of content and spend time with our various partners whilst enjoying the winter sun.”
“The atmosphere within the team was good, with few changes within the team from 2016, we were able to get straight down to business. Same sponsors, same equipment, mostly the same group of riders and staff, so there was no need to break the ice or mess around with setting up equipment in the first few days. It was a nice change from the previous years. The only addition to the team on the riders front is former World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. She fitted in well with the group, found her feet and integrated into the team nicely.”
One other interesting partnership and innovation for CANYON//SRAM during 2016 has been the Zwift Academy. The team partnered with the online virtual cycling program ‘Zwift‘ to create the Zwift Academy – a talent search program for women around the globe to join and take on various challenges, with the chance of gaining a professional contract with our team in 2017. Over 1200 women took part and 3 finalists were invited to join us on our training camp, where the winner would be decided. “I think it was a really interesting and innovative concept, to give women anywhere in the world an opportunity to be ‘found’ who may not have necessarily had the pathways available to them to break into the world of professional cycling. During the camp we had the final three riders with us who joined in with our daily training and they were also given a few challenges during the training sessions to gives us an opportunity to see their abilities on the road away from the virtual world of Zwift. In the end it was American Leah Thorvilson who got the verdict and became our 11th rider on the team for 2017. I am looking forward to welcoming her to the squad and seeing how she progresses in the races throughout the season.
The training in Mallorca was the first important building block for Tiff and her ambitious teammates. “We would start most days with morning exercise sessions before breakfast and then on the bike we worked in 3 days blocks and did a lot of volume. The shortest ride was 3.5 hours, but generally we were on the road for 4-5+ hours daily, with a recovery ride or day off every 4th day. We also incorporated some specific efforts into the training and would split the group in half to avoid long periods of sitting in the wheels, barely pushing the pedals. Mallorca is a great place to ride, so much variety and choices whether you want completely flat rides, super hilly rides or something in-between.”
Of course, this time of the year also needs some down time to recover mentally and add some fun to keep the team atmosphere strong. Tiffany particularly enjoyed the team go-karting night which team partner SVL sports insurance hosted. “We had a great time karting. We had a big group – 32 of us, so we had to do qualifying rounds to set lap times and the fastest 10 went through to the final! I made it through to the final and it was absolute carnage but a lot of fun. Colin who was visiting us from Wahoo Fitness took the win and I ended up 2nd. I thought about trying to take him out but you cant do that to a sponsor can you?!”
After a quality 10 days together ticking plenty of boxes we were able to enjoy the annual team Christmas party before all heading our separate ways to go home for the holidays.
Tiff will enjoy Christmas and the festive period with one eye on the first races of the season. “Of course I will enjoy the festivities but I don’t generally get too wrapped up in them as the Australian racing season is just around the corner. I will only race the road race at the Australian National Championships and then I am excited about the team arriving for the Tour Down Under and the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Alena, Lisa, Mieke, Barbara and Alexis will be here. It’s the first time the team has been in Australia for these races so I am looking forward to having them in my home town of Adelaide and hopefully starting the season on a high. It’s going to be amazing.”
“2016 has been a roller coaster year with plenty of highs and some lows, but I’d like to take this time to thank everyone who continually supports me on my journey. My family, friends, coach, team, our team partners and my personal sponsors. Last but not least all of my fans and followers, thank you for your continued support and encouragement, it means so much to me.”
It’s time to sign off from 2016 and let’s make 2017 the best yet!