Tiffany Cromwell heads into Saturday’s World Championships road race with her future secure after sealing a two-year contract extension with Kirsty Scrymgeour’s team.
"It's exciting and great for women's cycling to see the team continue, the 'project x' crowd funding campaign proved to be a strong tool to create greater excitement about the team and provide important extra funding to the team's budget. We've lost a couple of riders for next season as it's already been announced but I believe the majority of the group will stick together. There's a lot of changes amongst teams next year in the women's peloton that should create some exciting dynamics," Cromwell told Cyclingnews.
"I'm excited to have my future secured with my current trade team for the next two years as we lead into Rio Olympics. I had a number of very competitive offers from other teams that I seriously considered, but in the end I'm happy and confident in my final decision to stay. There are some exciting plans for the team for next season and beyond, they believe in me as a rider and my potential and I believe it's the right team for me at this current time in my career."
The 26-year-old is the most experienced rider in the Australian camp for Saturday’s road race and despite the nation's drop in stature over the last 12 months; Cromwell insisted that the women’s team were happy with their tag as underdogs.
“My form is coming along and I’ve been getting stronger and stronger over the last few weeks. I’m the most experienced rider in the team but we have a talented team here,” she told Cyclingnews.
“The team has been picked on form but obviously we’re aware that our ranking has dropped a bit in the last 12 months and we’re down to 10th now. There was some talk about not sending a full team but we’ve stepped up as a group in the last few months and the selectors looked at who has performing.
“But we’ve picked a team for this course and although we’re not the strongest nation at the moment when you look at the Dutch, for example, I believe in the team even though we’re underdogs.”
While the majority of riders have spent the last 24 hours testing out the road race course for the first time, Cromwell, who will captain the team on Sunday, can fall back on the knowledge she picked up in June when her current trade team, Specialized-lululemon, rode reconnaissance over the time trial and road race course. And according to Cromwell, the course suits a power-climber, such as herself.
Cromwell has steadily built up her form in recent weeks and has posted encouraging results in her Worlds build-up, however, she is aware that the Australian camp are without an out-and-out favourite for the race. Lizzie Armistead, the recent winner of the women’s World Cup leads the Great Britain team and although defending champion Marianne Vos has shown patchy form of late, Cromwell still tips her as the rider to beat.
“You can never discount Vos,” she told Cyclingnews.
“There are riders closing in on her and she has pulled out from the last few races saying that she’s fatigued and that she’s focusing on the World Championships but you just never know with her. She’s always good when it counts and can turn herself inside out. Lzzie and Pauline Ferrand Prevot are both there. Vos is favourite but it’s going to be a really good fight.”