Pro female cyclist Tiffany Cromwell has always loved sport. Despite her short stature (166 cm) she was a keen basketballer before she was identified as a potential cyclist in a school talent search program in her home state of South Australia. Interestingly fellow pro cyclist Nettie Edmondson attended the same school and was picked up in the same program.
The transition from baggy shorts to lycra was not a difficult one and Tiffany began her career as a professional when she joined (as a guest rider) the Colavita-Sutter team in 2007 at the tender age of 18 and headed to Europe. She’s since ridden for the Lotto, Hitec, Orica-AIS and has just signed a contract with Specialized-lululemon for 2014.
After two years with the Australian Orica-AIS team Tiffany says she’s ready for a change and in fact thrives on change. It takes her out of her comfort zone and helps her to raise the bar. She says that she wouldn’t have made the team switch for just any team, she’s very excited about joining the high profile Specialized-lululemon team which has had consistently good results since it was formed two years ago. Her debut race with the team will be the Tour of Qatar in early February, followed by the defence of her title in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium in late February.
She’s currently home in South Australia and in training for the Bay Crits in early January where she won a stage in 2013 and the National Championships in mid January. Then she’ll be heading to her team training camp in late January to get ready for the season.
She spends the majority of the year living in her European base in Monaco where she settled a number of years ago with her former partner Richie Porte. They remain friends and she describes him as a great support. Despite the split Tiffany plans to remain in Monaco where the climate is great and there’s a large network of people including heaps of ex-pats from the UK.
In Europe she’s grasped a basic understanding of French and Italian but would like to increase her language skills over time. Like many of us, she can understand more than she can speak, but finds that in Monaco a lot of people speak English.
Like me she’s keen to see more women on bikes and believes that we can work together by organising women only bunch rides, making the roads safer with initiatives like the ‘metre matters’ laws and information sessions for aspiring women riders.
A lesser known side to Tiffany is her fashion sideline. She did have her own women’s cycling fashion range but confesses that it didn’t quite work. She’s now working behind the scenes to launch a new range of Tiffany Jane cycling apparel by the end of next year. She says she’s got a lot of ideas and is very passionate about the project but wants to get it right and create quality products while still making a profit.
When I asked her about a potential Tour de France (there was a petition led by a group of British women riders earlier this year) she was enthusiastic and would love to see this happen but firmly believes it shouldn’t be the same as the men. She suggests that the women could ride half stages but it could happen at the same time as the men’s tour. Having been to the final stage of the Tour de France on the Champs Elysee (both me and Tiffany) she’s keen to race in front of such a huge enthusiastic crowd.
Tiffany says that women’s bike racing is different to men’s because the teams are smaller, the racing style is different and women don’t have the same power as men, but women are still powerful, just in a different way.