Tiffany Cromwell will launch the CANYON//SRAM Racing team into its inaugural?year when she races the Elite Women’s time trial and road?race on January 7 and 10 at the Australian Road Nationals in Buninyong. Cromwell will race Canyon’s Ultimate WMN CF SLX road bike and Speedmax CF SLX time trial bike, both equipped with SRAM RED eTap and Zipp wheels. It will be the first time the world can see the new team design from Rapha live in action, and after?speaking with Cromwell and Rapha Australia, we’re predicting a big show.
Australian/New Zealand Marketing Manager at Rapha, Nadine O’Connor says “We are extremely excited that the Australian Road Nationals will form the stage for a world first?glimpse of the new CANYON//SRAM Racing Women’s WorldTour team colours on the back of Tiffany Cromwell.?Equally, are our customers. Many of whom will join us for the annual Rapha Transfer ride to Buninyong where our H-van will be situated on the climb, pumping out the caffeine in support the fans as they cheer on each of the riders in their pursuit for the National championship title.”
We caught up with the Australian rider as she prepares to try to win her first ever Green and Gold senior jersey.
For yourself for many years, and for the majority of other riders in the road race, the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic forms the final preparation for Road Nationals. This year you elected not to race the ?Bay Crits.’ Was there any reason why?
Cromwell “I decided it was time to change things up a bit. I?ve done the Bay Crits for the last 11 years and always used them as my final prep into nationals and as much as they are a great event and good to reintroduce the intensity back into the system you do miss that extra week of specific training for the needs of the events at the Nationals. I also decided to stay in Europe later than I ever have during the off season and only arriving home to Adelaide just after Christmas I wanted the extra time in one place, keeping good routine and taking out a few days of travel/hotel time as it?s going to be a long season this year and time on the road all adds up.”
How would your rate your own form going into Road Nationals?
Cromwell “I am really happy with where I?m at for this time of the year. January is always a difficult time to be in top form depending on where your goals lie in the season but this year I feel like I?m coming into the Championships in good condition, lots of motivation and a great headspace. It?s hard to judge exactly where I am compared to the other girls as I haven?t raced since the World Championships or been around Australia very much to see how the other girls are travelling but the sensations I have on the bike at the moment feel good so I?m excited to see what I can do.”
Everyone has a list of favourites for the road race – anyone in particular that you’ll be keeping an eye on?
Cromwell “It?s always the same names really. Of course anyone from Orica-AIS, it?s not rocket science, they?ll easily have the strength in numbers we?ll just have to see what games they?ll play. You can?t discount Peta Mullens, she?s always good this time of the year. Lauren Kitchen, Carlee Taylor, Shara Gillow, any of the girls who are racing in Europe full time and aren?t pure sprinters I?m not going to be letting go waltzing up the road. I know for me that every year I have a massive target on my back and don?t get any freedom so I try not focus too much into worrying about the major favourites and instead try to focus on my own race.”
Often an early break goes in the women’s road race, but in 2015 it was more or less all-together until the last few laps. How do you see 2016 playing out?
Cromwell “I think we will see a pretty hard race this year. Being an Olympic year everyone is going to want to get results on the board early. I wouldn?t be surprised if we see Orica-AIS play some early cards so they?re on the front foot as they?ll have the numbers this year and also won?t want to mess up and come away with nothing like last year. If it?s raced hard early it becomes a very selective race, if we sit around for the first half of the race and then start racing in the second half you generally see a bigger group make it to the finish. It?s hard to call but my guess is that it will be an aggressive race and we?ll see it become very selective in the final laps.”
You are back racing the national time trial, after a hiatus in 2015. You saw the course this morning – how do you like it?
Cromwell “I haven?t raced on this current course before, but this morning in training I did like it. It?s the same course as last year, with a lot of undulations which excite me and I think it suits me better than any previous year I have raced it. It would be nice if there were a few corners or what not to add a technical element but I guess we can?t have everything. After my podium in last year?s UCI 1.1 Chrono Champenois time trial I?m excited to see what I can do tomorrow and I can?t wait to race on my new Canyon SpeedMax CF SLX time trial bike with SRAM RED eTap. It?s a very fast bike and I hope I can do it justice.”
Signing for CANYON//SRAM Racing there’s been a lot of excitement about the new UCI Women’s WorldTour team. How have you found it so far?
Cromwell “It?s been awesome, it really has. There?s been so much excitement about our new CANYON//SRAM Racing team all around the globe, I?ve had so many messages and support since it?s all been launched and I can?t wait to be racing in our colours for the first time on home soil in Australia. Already from our first training camp in December I can feel the motivation from within the team and from our partners and I think we?re set for a really exciting year of racing on the road together.”
With Rio Olympics and a new UCI Women’s WorldTour ahead in 2016, what are your own early goals?
Cromwell “I?ve set the National Championships as an early goal, it would be awesome to take the Green and Gold jersey with me over to Europe. I know that I will need a bit of luck on my side being one out in the road race but I?m targeting at least podium performances in both the TT and RR. The bigger early season goals past that for me are in the Spring Classics, I want to get the ball rolling in Australia and then really have a strong Spring. I would love to win Het Nieuwsblad again, that?s always been a favourite race for me. Other races I?m targeting include Strade Bianche, Trofeo Binda, Gent-Wevelgem as a warm up/last minute tune up to Flanders and Fl?che Wallonne. It?ll be a busy start to the year no doubt but I think I?m ready.”
You can follow the live action of Cromwell and the fight for green and gold on the twitter feed of ?CANYON//SRAM Racing using @WMNcycling.