Tiffany Cromwell has signed a contract with Specialized Lululemon, bringing the curtain down on her time at Orica AIS. The Australian has signed a multiple year deal with the world time trial team champions as she builds towards the Olympics in 2016.
“Orica had offered me another year but I just didn’t to just say yes straight away. I wanted to also see what else was out there. It’s a time when my next major goal is the Olympics so if you’re going to change teams now is the time to do it. So then I contacted Specialized Lululemon to see if they were interested in me and what their programme was like. The opportunities were better with this team than they were if I’d stayed with Orica. Hopefully it’s going to work out well for me,” Cromwell told Cyclingnews.
Specialized Lululemon have looked to bolster their team for 2014 after Ina-Yoko Teutenberg and Katie Colclough announced their respective retirements at the end of the season.
“I’ve always liked the team, from way back when they were the old HTC team. I think what Kristy Scrymgeour has done with the team has been really great. Not only do they really try and make it a professional outfit, they test so much and really look at development. She utilizes the team to try and promote the sport too, which I think is really important seeing how the sport is building at the moment. Being part of that was a major factor. If I was leaving Orica it was going to be for something equally good, if not better. I wasn’t going to downgrade.”
Cromwell, 25, enjoyed two full seasons at Orica and stepped up to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2013. It was her only win of the season but she was a consistent performer throughout the year with top ten results in stage and one day races. She ended her season with ninth at the World Championships in Italy.
Although she described her time at the Australian team as successful and productive, she is looking forward to more individual opportunities under Scrymgeour’s management.
“We always had the opportunities to be up there but obviously when you have someone in your team like Emma Johansson, who is so consistent, it might just seem like it’s more about her but it definitely wasn’t from a background point of view. We always backed each other 100 per cent but quite often I’d be getting stronger in finishes and it would be me and Emma left for the team,” Cromwell told Cyclingnews.
“She’s the stronger rider in the sprints so if want to try and get to her level I think I need to move away and come back and battle against her. She was a fantastic teammate to have and to learn from but when you’re striding to be number one then you need to ride against them.”
In 2014, Cromwell will once again take aim at the Classics. She will kick off her season with the Bay Crits in Australian and the road nationals before returning to her base in Europe. The Tour of Flanders stands out as one of her key objectives but with Specialized-lululemon’s strength in depth she is also looking to develop her stage racing abilities.
“I’m looking to step up further again with the emphasis on the World Cups and one day races," she said.
"I’d like to have a big crack at Flanders and I’ve proved my abilities in the Classics. I hope to step up there but I’d like to also develop my GC abilities and with someone like Evelyn Stevens I can learn while helping her. It’s about getting more podium, more wins, being more consistent because every year I’m getting stronger.”