A wrap up from a full Summer of Cycling in Australia

Photo ©Kirsty Baxter

Summers in Australia are just the motivation needed to recharge your batteries, start the new seasons training and of course pin the number on your back for the first races of the 2017 campaign.  Tiffany Cromwell has enjoyed a summer of building fitness, developing strength and linking everything together to ensure a good base for the new season.  “I have really managed to achieve a good balance this summer, ensuring the hard work has been done but also enjoying my time being back in Australia and of course my hometown of Adelaide in particular. With less than a week left in Adelaide before I return to the cold of Europe for my final preparations ahead of the classics and the kick off of the European season, I’m feeling motivated.  As I reflect on the last two months, I can feel the form developing and I am in a good place with my training.  I am really happy with where I’m at after the busy early season of racing throughout January and a big couple of months training in Australia!”

Tiff opened her season with the Australian National Championships. “That was a hard and aggressive race!  I went in with zero pressure on myself as I was still in the building and preparation phase of my season and I wanted to just take the nationals as it came to see where I was at.  With the 2016 season finishing much later than normal, it meant everything was pushed back compared to previous seasons. I came into the nationals with about one month less preparation than I would normally have, but that’s not such a bad thing.  I’m hoping with the later and more relaxed approach to the start of the season will result in my first peak coming through the Spring classics where my first big targets of the season lie. Last year I was flying a bit too early in the season and I wasn’t able to continue with this form and perform in the races that I really wanted to be good in!”

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©Kirsty Baxter

Tiffany was happy with her overall performance, “I still ended up with a top 10, which is ok! I was content afterwards, my general fitness was good, I was just lacking the top end when it was needed the most. It felt good to have the number on my back again and into the swing of things, race well and see some good indications of my current form.”

After the nationals, all attention turned to the Santos Tour Down Under.  Tiff was more than excited for this years race! “Having my CANYON//SRAM teammates over in my home city was awesome.  They enjoyed being away from the cold weather and I was able to show them my local training roads, my favourite places to go, and share with them the place where I grew up and my career began.  It was really enjoyable having them in town.

The highlight of the race for the team was getting Alexis Ryan on the podium as best young rider overall. “It was really great to see the whole team pull together.  We had Alexis in the young rider jersey after the first stage but then lost it on stage two. As we came into the final stage – a 1hr criterium, we weren’t in contention for an overall GC podium but Alexis still had the ability to claim back the young rider jersey. We decided we would go all in, chase the time bonuses to help Alexis move up on the classification and get the jersey back on her shoulders so we could finish with someone on the final podium. It was a great showing of teamwork, I felt like we were all committed to the plan and the early season team cohesion is strong, even without the top form being there yet.  For me personally, I felt better than I thought I would during the race. Despite not recording any major results, I was around the mix and feeling like my race form was improving with every stage and at least I could still play a support role to my team mates.”

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TDU Rapha Women’s Ride ©Kirsty Baxter

It was the first time the team has come out to Australia which provided a great opportunity to take part in a number of events with some of the Canyon//SRAM team partners that were held throughout the Tour Down Under week. “We had a number of events to attend with a few of our team partners once our racing was finished. Events included group rides through the Adelaide Hills with the Rapha and SRAM communities, a live Zwift online ride, signing sessions in the Tour Village with Canyon and Q&A evenings at the Rapha Pop-up. I became the route master for the group rides which gave me the opportunity to showcase the amazing roads that we have to train on throughout Adelaide and the surrounding hills. The first race I ever watched when I started cycling was the Tour Down Under, so it’s a race that has always been close to my heart and it’s just such a great showcase for the sport here in Australia.  I am incredibly proud of the city I grew up in and the world class cycling event it has built.”

After a busy Tour Down Under, Tiffany and the team headed across to the East Coast to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.  This year they added a new event, the Towards Zero Race Melbourne Kermesse on Australia Day to give the teams a ‘warm up’ race ahead of the main weekend events. The Kermesse took place around the Albert Park Australian GP F1 race track, a very fast circuit to race around and a perfect location to create action packed racing.  “Kirsten Wild was the outright favourite coming into the race and was always going to be difficult to beat in a bunch sprint and indeed that proved to be the case.  But we committed to a strong team plan to set the sprint up for Lisa Brennauer, we came together in the final lap taking control and giving her a strong lead-out which helped deliver her to a podium finish. It wasn’t the win, but it gave the team a lot of confidence with the way we came together in the final and showed team strength in what we achieved there.”

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The Team trying to split the field in the crosswinds ©Kirsty Baxter

The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on Saturday was the final race of the teams Australian racing campaign and we wanted to finish on a high. The tactic was to use our strength in the crosswinds in the earlier parts of the race with the aim of putting teams on the back foot, trying to split the field and soften the legs ahead of the steep climbs in the latter part of the race.  “We gave it a good go in the race. As a team I think that we raced a strong race but in the finale we just didn’t have the legs to match the strongest riders in those final punchy climbs. Despite not finishing on the high we had hoped for, we can take a lot out of the Australian racing campaign as a team. It was an opportunity to build the foundations for the season ahead, get in some solid early season racing and intensity into the legs and leave us motivated and confident in what we will be able to achieve together this season.”

Tiff is now focused on her final training block before heading to Europe.  “Being able to stay an extra few weeks in Australia has kept me motivated, training well and pushing towards my early season goals. I’m now completely focused on the classics with Gent-Wevelgem as a key race along with Flanders. After that, the arrival of Amstel Gold on the calendar is exciting and another key target to my early season races. I’m pretty excited to get the European season started and to head into races knowing that I have the form to chase victories and not just lining up to build form.”

You can follow Tiff during the 2017 season on Twitter and Instagram @tiffanycromwell.

 

 

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