Australia’s Olympic women’s cycling team – Road, BMX and MTB

Amanda Spratt in action

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Australia’s Olympic women’s track cycling team and this time I’m covering the rest of the women’s cycling disciplines – Road, BMX & Mountain Bike (MTB). All of these events will be shown on TV (perhaps in some cases only on pay TV) so make sure you check your TV guides and tune in to see an awesome spectacle.

The road events – road race and individual time trial are on 29 July and 1 August respectively, the BMX is on from 8 to 10 August, and mountain biking (MTB) on 12 August.

The team was confirmed about a week ago and the women’s contingent includes:

Chloe Hosking

Chloe is a member of the women’s professional European cycling team – Specialized lululemon. She’s had a very successful year on the bike which is no doubt why she has been selected.

She won her first race of 2012 on New Year’s Day on home soil, but made headlines around the world for a comment she made afterwards – calling Pat McQuaid, the boss of the International Cycling Federation, ”a bit of a dick” for not believing female cyclists deserved a minimum wage. I agreed with her sentiment but she later said that she chose the wrong words. No doubt she’s learnt from her mistake.

Chloe’s a sprinter and has done plenty to claim her place on the team. She finished sixth last September at the world road championships, third overall at the Jayco Bay Classic criterium series in January and fifth in the Tour of Qatar in February. Then in March she won her first race on the European tour, the Drentse 8 race.

Chloe said of the win, ”That was a good one to win. I beat the world champion Giorgia Bronzini and Marianne Vos, who is pretty amazing. She’s ranked No.1 in the world, so I was on cloud nine for a while there.”

You can follow Chloe on Twitter @chloe_hosking.

Shara Gillow

In 2011, Shara Gillow was named Australian Elite Female Road Cyclist of the Year at the annual Cycling Australia awards night.

Earlier in the year she’d won the second stage of the Giro Donne (the women’s version of the Tour of Italy which is being raced currently) and pulled on the pink leader’s jersey for the first time in her career. She then made history in January 2012 when she won the third stage of the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic, giving the brand new GreenEDGE-AIS team its first ever win.

Known as “Shaza” to her mates, her home cycling club is the Sunshine Coast Cycling Club.

In 2008 she was recognised as a future talent and awarded a scholarship with the Queensland Institute of Sport.

As I understand it, Shara will race the individual time trial at the Olympics. She says of the course – “I love the time trial course. It’s very suited to me. It’s a little bit undulating but it’s a bit of a power course too and it’s not too technical.”

You can follow Shara on Twitter @SharaGillow or check out her website at www.gillow.com.au

Amanda Spratt

GreenEDGE–AIS team member Amanda Spratt has been riding a bike since she was 4 or 5 years old.

“My dad and grandfather both used to race competitively at Parramatta Cycling Club in when they were younger, so cycling is in my blood! I started BMX cycling with my brother when I was nine years old at the Blue Mountains BMX Club. Three years later I moved into track and road cycling, joining the Penrith Panthers Cycling Club in 1999. Four years later, I debuted in the Australian team at the Junior World Track Cycling Championships,” said Amanda.

Spratty, as her friends call her, is the current Australian Road Champion. She also won the National individual time trial title (2008) and a National title team pursuit on the track in 2007. And not to forget the O Cenu Ceskeho Svycarska, a 5 days Czech Tour in 2011

She’s achieved all this whilst overcoming a debilitating leg injury that resulted in surgery and a significant recovery time.

You can follow her on Twitter @AmandaSpratt.

Caroline Buchanan

Anyone who thinks that BMX bikes are for teenage boys to skulk around better think again. Caroline Buchanan is awesome and has just won the World Championship in BMX.

Canberra-local Caroline originally started racing BMX at the age of five, “it all started when I followed my older brother into the sport after we had driven past the local BMX track one day. I was also doing Teakwondo at that stage up until the age of eight when I went to Paris for the BMX World Championships and it was then that I had to focus on fewer sports and gave up Teakwondo. I went through other phases of playing sports I have always liked being active and playing some kind of sport. Over the years I have done Netball, Oz-tag, Swimming, Soccer and Golf. At the age of 15 all I wanted to do was ride a bike, I rode at the skate park lots, went dirt jumping as well as racing BMX.”

Caroline is also a mountain biker but this year is concentrating on BMX with her goal firmly set on Olympic gold. She recently returned victorious from the BMX World Championships where she took gold in the individual time trial event.

You can follow her on Twitter @CBuchanan68 or check out her website at www.carolinebuchanan.com

Lauren Reynolds

Despite being only 21, West Australian Lauren Reynolds has already achieved a lot in her BMX career. She’s been state champion eight times, national champion four times and world champion once. Her ambition for 2012 is to win gold in London and being selected is a great step towards that goal.

After reading about her I can see that she’s really passionate about BMX riding and is already thinking about life beyond competition and suggesting her future might lie in coaching. I doubt that BMX riders have a long career. You’ll see what I mean when you watch it on TV. It’s fast and furious and I suspect very hard on your joints.

You can read more about Lauren on her website at laurenreynolds.com

Rebecca Henderson

Each country can only have one male and one female competitor in MTB at the Olympics so it’s been a hard fought competition just to get selected for Rebecca Henderson.

Canberra’s Bec Henderson has been riding mountain bikes since the age of 10. Although involved in many other sports including cross country running, hockey, gymnastics and basketball; mountain biking was always her favourite.

In February 2011 Bec won the Under 23 Australian Championships and in March she won the Oceania Championships. Bec has now won 8 National Championships from Under 15 to Under 23 and won 3 Oceania titles.

Outside of Mountain Biking Bec enjoys sightseeing and travelling, BBQ’s, going to the coast, theme parks, seeing friends and having a day to relax.

You can read more about Bec at bechenderson.com.au