Jai Crawford: Taking the silk road to Europe

Australia's Jai Crawford is aiming to re-write all the rules by making it to the ProTour via the...

Australia's Jai Crawford is aiming to re-write all the rules by making it to the ProTour via the Asian cycling scene. The Tasmanian sat down with Cyclingnews' Greg Johnson after his stellar performance at the Tour de Langkawi.

Jai Crawford is hoping to become an Australian pioneer by forging a new route in the path to cycling's elite level. The Tasmanian is aiming to reach the heights of cycling via the Asian scene, rather than the traditional European route.

Crawford may well be a little-known Tasmanian in the world of cycling, but he's hoping that by posting big results in 2007 the sport's power brokers will be forced to sit up and take notice. Le'ts set the future aside for a moment and look at the route that has led Crawford to this point.

Like a growing number of Australian road cyclists, Crawford comes from a background in mountain biking. In fact, it was his mountain biking prowess that saw the now 23 year-old offered a scholarship with the Tasmanian Institute of Sport in 2002.

But, despite some success in the discipline that included competing at the World Championships in Lugano, Switzerland , Crawford's exposure to road racing through the TIS program was ultimately the path that he would follow. In 2004, the decision was made - Crawford had his scholarship transferred from the TIS MTB team to its road squad.

"I didn’t have the technical skill to compete at the highest level in most XC MTB races," Crawford said in an interview at the time, "so the choice to try the road became an obvious one after many frustrating, poor MTB results."

The youngster's swap to the black-top kicked off a rapid spurt in his career that landed Crawford in a British UCI Continental team just 12 months later. At 21 years of age, already in a European squad, the path to a ProTour contract looked clear, but it was in fact the beginning of a downward spiral in his career. Read the full interview with Jai Crawford

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