22.02.2016 ,

Cromwell’s Olympic ambitions in Rio

News text completely next page: Since 2012 Cromwell has put the Rio Olympics high on her goal list. “I have a book on my wall in my bedroom titled ‘Olympic Gold.’ I wake up every morning when I’m home and I see that. That is my goal: to win Olympic Gold. I don’t want to just get a tracksuit and roll around. You need to go into any race you target and believe that you can win because if you don’t believe that, what’s the point of lining up?”

In the three years since London, she has steadily chipped away at that target including a win at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, two top-ten’s at Road World Championships and several podium performances in France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Australia. But is this enough to be selected for the Australian team at Rio Olympics?

“As with anything, when you’re trying to reach the highest platform there’s never an easy way to get there, especially when it comes to something as prestigious as the Olympic Games. Coming from a nation with such a rich sporting culture that has one of the biggest Olympic teams across all sports, it is a long and dedicated journey to gain one of those tickets.”

“With a maximum of four spots on offer, you really have to perform above and beyond. In road cycling you need to have a course that suits your strengths and you need to show that you’re a medal potential on similar courses when racing against a world-class field or prove that you have the capabilities to perform a team support role to help deliver a medal performance. Then it’s up to the discretion of the selectors to decide if you’ve done enough to earn your spot. It keeps you on your feet to keep pushing yourself to your maximum potential so if you get selected you know you’ve truly earned it and deserve to be on that start line in Rio.”

Cromwell’s first target of the 2016 season was the Australian National Championships and she was rewarded with a bronze medal in the time trial. Post race Cromwell explained to the media that she is a smarter rider now. “I’ve been more focused this pre-season coming into Nationals. In the past I’ve let travel and wanting to go everywhere and do everything get the better of me. Since November 1st I’ve been a lot more focused, already with my training program in Europe. I’ve been looking at the one and two percent things and I just feel I’ve finally learnt a lot.”

Joining the new UCI Women’s WorldTour team, CANYON//SRAM Racing, has been integral to that focus for Cromwell. “This team was an important decision when thinking about my road to Rio. I needed a team that would support my Olympic ambitions, give me the ideal race program and opportunities in races to perform. A team that offers the best equipment and staff support is also super important so you can just worry about your performance and not be worried that the equipment or lack of support at races is holding you back. It’s such an international team and a team that really supports each other in the races and gives everyone opportunities to win. In an Olympic year selection can be so cut throat and if you’re in a team where you’re competing against team mates for the same spots, it can get a bit tense. I know that with this team I can just concentrate on my own performances and my role in the team. If anything my team mates are even more supportive because we want to all help each other get to the Olympics and we also want to see all of us win races.”

Setting goals is one thing, but taking steps to achieve those goals is another and Cromwell admits she has struggled with season-long consistency. “In the past I’ve been really good at having short term goals, coming up with form quickly, and always been thereabouts, but I want more. Since just missing out on making selection in London 2012, I’ve been learning what works and what I need to improve to get this season right.”

“It’s about ironing out the creases, clearing out the bad distractions and getting on top of the one and two percenters that are going to make the major differences in the long run. It’s also about being disciplined, not taking short cuts, not going out and spending the whole off-season partying, you can do that when you retire. But at the same time also having balance so I don’t burn out in the critical times to perform.”

“I’ve spent enough years not doing things 100% and I want to change that, I want to reach my full potential. It’s taken me long enough to work this out and I’m hoping the hard work and dedication is going to pay dividends this season.”

After her season start in Australia, Cromwell then helped guide team mate Trixi Worrack to overall victory at Ladies Tour of Qatar in early February, as well as finishing seventh on GC herself. “I’m more than satisfied with my form so far. Now’s not the time to peak, but I feel strong on the bike. In a season you can realistically have two major peaks, three if you manage it really well. My goal is to peak in the Spring first as these are the races I want to perform in and they’re the races that are important for selection. Then it will be important to have a rest around May and then build back up to peak for the Olympics in August.”

As Rio looms closer so too does the final selection date for the Australian Olympic Team and Cromwell now has her sights set on the Spring Classics. “We race every weekend up until Flanders, I love this time of year. These are the first of the races that I have to perform in for our contender in August.”


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