Australian riders Tiffany Cromwell and Jessica Pratt will be after Australia road nationals by Tanja Erath, Ella Harris, Hannah Ludwig and Alexis Ryan as the team prepares to race the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under on 16-19 January, Towards Zero Race Torquay on 30 January and the Women’s World Tour opener, Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on 1 February.
“I raced in Australia in 2017 at the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans’ Great Ocean Road Race. I loved every minute of it: the training roads, races, food, coffee, culture, people, landscape.”
“My form will be fairly good in these early races. I started my preparation early and the weather has been good at home. I don’t have much in the way of expectations for these races. My goal, and I think for the other girls on the team as well, is to get some good, competitive racing in our legs before the spring classics in Europe.”
“I think most of the stages and one days are suited to my strengths. The climbs are on the shorter side and the finishes will most likely come down to reduced bunch sprints. I haven’t raced since August, so it’s all a bit unpredictable at the moment. I’m keen to get racing!”
“It will be my first time racing in Australia and I am expecting it to be really hot temperatures and hard racing!”
“I am quite happy about my shape at this point of the season, but it will be a new experience to race that early. I would like to start the season with a great team effort because that’s just the best feeling ever.”
“At the end of this early block of racing, I would really like to be able to say that we gave our best, and we each come out of it feeling motivated for the European season.”
“In 2018 I raced the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. It was my first UCI race and quite a nerve-wracking experience, but I loved the course, the level of competition and the atmosphere.”
“My motivation is high and I’m also pleased with how my form has been in training. I have high expectations on myself to perform well and ride strongly for the team. The whole team seems to be tracking really nicely towards these events so we can go in with high hopes and big aims – I think we have lots of different opportunities and options to achieve success.”
“The Tour Down Under stages don’t have any noticeable ‘GC decisive’ sections that will really shake things up, but I think the courses should whittle down the field through strong racing, tough weather and what looks like quite relentless terrain. We have a very good advantage with Tiff being an Adelaide local, so knowledge and tactics wise we are in great hands. All stages, in particular the final day, could come down to a sprint which we have excellent options for. There is also the possibility of opportunist/climbing breakaways in stages 2 or 3. I personally really like the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race course, so I am particularly motivated to have a good race there.”
“In 2018, just after I won the Zwift Academy, I was in Australia with Zwift and I raced some local crits in Adelaide. This will be my first road and stage racing down under. ”
“So far, I’m super happy with the winter season preparation. Even though I stayed in Germany for most of the time, I could do some good miles with an awesome group that helped me work on my positioning in the bunch. Now, with heat and time adaption, I’m already getting more specific preparation done. Thankfully, I had no health issues at all and could do a proper build up toward this early season start.”
“The first ideal outcome from our racing block in Australia, for me is always if nobody crashed or got hurt. Performance wise, the perfect outcome for me would be to race as a unit and show how strong we are as a team in all races and to take some early confidence into the European spring and summer.”
The Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, 16-19 January can be followed on Twitter with @tourdownunder.
The Towards Zero Race Torquay, 30 January, can be followed on Twitter with @CadelRoadRace.
The Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, 1 February, with @CadelRoadRace and #UCIWWT and will be live-streamed on Channel 7 (Australia) from 12:20 CEST.