The return of Rochelle Gilmore (BikeExchange Dream Team) following a prolonged layoff due to injury has been bumpy to say the least, however the 30-year-old is maintaining a positive outlook.
Gilmore abandoned the third stage of the Jayco Bay Classic, did not start the Australian Criterium Championships in Ballarat on Thursday evening. She then rode just one lap of the Australian elite women's road race on Saturday before being forced to withdraw, citing on her twitter feed that she'd ridden "1 lap too many."
Speaking to Cyclingnews at the Bay Classic, Gilmore, defending champion explained: "I was definitely coming into this series hoping and wanting to do well and to try and win the series, but the reality is that I've only been on the bike for three weeks so I have to have a really good reality check and realise where I'm at."
With that in mind, Gilmore will not ride the Santos Women's Cup, run in conjunction with the Tour Down Under from January 15. "My main focus is the 1st of February which is the Tour of Qatar so whether I need that much racing in January is a question I will have to answer after road nationals," Gilmore explained. "The Tour of Qatar is a pretty heavy schedule."
Gilmore's best result at the Bay Classic last week was a third placing on the opening stage, in a series dominated by the performances of the GreenEdge-AIS team with Melissa Hoskins claiming the overall victory. Chloe Hosking was also a strong performer.
Although Gilmore maintains that her situation could be a lot worse, and seems unconcerned that her rivals are well ahead of her at this point in time with just three spots on the women's road team available for the London Olympic Games in July.
"I think with the GreenEdge girls that any one of them could make the Olympic team, they're all very strong," Gilmore admits. "For me mentally coming here racing against them and being very close to their form it gives me a lot of confidence because I was in hospital having surgery under general anaesthetic when they were in training camp.
"You've also got Chloe [Hosking] and Loren Rowney from outside GreenEdge so I think the Olympic selection is very open given we haven't had the first international race of the season yet. We really need to wait until February to see who's at world level."
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