Australian hoping to improve on bronze in Delhi
Rest and relaxation is the order of the day for Australia's Chloe Hosking, as she gets her self ready for this Sunday's road race at the Commonwealth Games. The team from down under is looking to retain Rochelle Gilmore's title from Delhi in 2010 and add to the already impressive haul of medals this year.
Hosking is the only return rider from the Delhi road race team. The 23-year-old says that she's 'gunning' for glory this year, after taking the bronze medal four years ago. "I definitely think I can improve on bronze. I won that medal when I'd just turned 20, and I don't really think I totally realised how big a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games was," she told Cyclingnews on Tuesday, as she recovered from a 4am start to recce the course.
"I'm definitely gunning for a medal here, but I'll be equally happy if any of my teammates get it."
Hosking and her teammate Gracie Elvin jetted in on Monday after riding the inaugural edition of La Course. Hosking finished 20th in the bunch sprint and while she was disappointed in her result, the Australian was delighted to have had a chance to show off women's cycling.
"It was an incredible experience. I think it was such a big day for women's cycling," she said. "I would like to see it again on the calendar… We need to see it return. If they can keep growing it to become one of our Grand Tours, like the Giro Rosa, that would be fantastic. But I realise things like this will take time and La Course was a fantastic first step."
After a bit of sleep and a few trips to the food hall, the work began. The six riders had a very early start on Wednesday morning, to ensure they had clear roads for the recon. Hosking was happy to see that nothing had changed from their last visit in May.
Anyone as long as they're Australian
Australia will be one of the favourites to take gold on Sunday, but the team is well aware of the threat that the home nations pose. One rider in particular is on their radar. "We're very aware of Lizzie Armitstead, she's been the in form rider all year and she's undoubtedly the favourite. We're going to go in and do everything possible to not let her get the gold medal," laughed Hosking.
"It (the course) definitely suits the team. For me, it will be a very difficult course. I will have to die a thousand deaths, which I'm willing to do. I think we've got a really great team to make the most of the course… I think we're going to have a pretty open race. We might have a leader on the road that just makes the tactics, but to be honest it doesn't matter who wins the medal as long as it's an Australian."
In 2010 a small group 16 riders made it to the finish, with Gilmore winning the bunch sprint. A certain Armitstead finished second, with Hosking rounding off the podium. The course in Glasgow is a much tougher one, and will favour the all-round rider. With this in mind, Hosking has been working on her climbing. It has had an impact on the top-end speed in her sprint, but it was a sacrifice that she was willing to take to ensure she makes it to the finish with the leaders.
"People were saying it's a sprinters' course on Sunday, but it's going to be really tough so I've been working on my climbing and my endurance," she told Cyclingnews. "The most important thing is to make sure that I am there at the end. Everybody else's legs will be just as drained at the end, so if I'm there at the end, hopefully I can out-sprint them."
There will be a few gentle rides between now and Sunday, but the hard graft has been done and Hosking is looking to a few days with her feet up.
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