Cromwell upbeat after achieving top-five goal in Worlds

It was a mission accomplished for Australia's Tiffany Cromwell, who clinched fifth at the World Championships in the elite women's road race on Saturday, the top-five result was what she was looking for in the event - and she is already aiming to go even better next year in Richmond, Virginia.

"It's kind of frustrating because I ran out of legs on the last climb, but luckily the Americans also missed the move," and the race came back together, giving Cromwell another chance to go for a top result, the Australian said afterwards.

"Rachel [Neylan - teammate] did an amazing job on those last couple of laps, I got a perfect lead-out off the Germans, and then I had to come through myself.

"I had to stop pedalling for a minute [in the sprint], but then it opened up. I thought I was going to get a medal, but.."

Still, as the 26-year-old recognised, "Fifth is still my best result to date, it's what we had to go for. It's a little bit frustrating I didn't get a medal, but I can't thank the team enough for the work they did.

"Top five, like - for me - it's my best achievement so far."

She suffered on the final climb when Emma Johansson and Lizzie Armitstead attacked but the US-led chase on the descent helped put Cromwell back in the game.

"It was predominately the Americans who did the work, and we were catching people on the climb, I knew my own descending skills and thought 'I've got nothing to lose now'. I see it [as an opportunity], I'll take that gamble.

"I'd been sitting on all day, so if we had the chance to get back on it was up to me. I had to finish the job.

"I used some of my descending skills and then sat, sat, sat those last two kilometres. Like I said, the Germans then brought us through, and the Italians [also worked for the sprint] because we had [Italian sprinter] Giorgia [Bronzini] with us."

Other riders like Armitstead have commented on how the racing was not full-blast for much of the day, and Cromwell confirmed that "to be honest it wasn't anywhere near as tough as I was expecting. It was a bit of a negative race, I'd say.

"It wasn't as difficult as last year in Florence," she concluded.

Ninth last year, she had targeted and has now taken a top-five result in Spain, and next year in Richmond she will be aiming higher - and going for a podium result.

"That'd be nice, or even the rainbow, that'd be even better. But it's more of a Classics kind of course next year in America, with lots of cobbles and that's right up my alley, so I'm very much looking forward to it.

"We've shown how strong Australian cycling is here and we can certainly target the medals."

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.