• Tiffany Cromwell happy after her Giro Rosa stage 4 win this year (Velofocus)Source: Velofocus
Tiffany Cromwell has emphasised the value of looking back to move forward as she readies for the 2017 season with Canyon-SRAM.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
25 Nov 2016 - 3:53 PM  UPDATED 25 Nov 2016 - 3:54 PM

The 28-year-old says her mental game sometimes let her down this year in which she marked a career high 59 race days, or 6775km, from January through to October.

“It’s always important to look back on the season because you’re not going to improve, or make those big steps forward, if you don’t revisit what has happened in the past and learn from what went well and what didn’t,” Cromwell tells Cycling Central from Adelaide, Australia where she has commenced pre-season training.

“That’s what I’ve been doing recently, talking to my coach and starting to plan the next phase but also revisiting the season as a whole and how to take that next step because that’s what we’re always striving for, is to win bike races.”

Cromwell had a long but solid season claiming a bronze medal behind Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) and Shara Gillow (Rabo Liv) at the Australian national time trial championships before assisting teammate Trixi Worrack to overall honours at the Ladies Tour of Qatar in February.

She was third behind Boels-Dolmans teammates Lizzie Deignan and Chantal Black at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad during the spring classics and most notably won a bunch sprint to take stage four of the Giro d’Italia Femminile in July.

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“The Giro is a tricky one because in the big picture, yes, it’s still a prestigious race, it’s our only version of a Grand Tour,” she says of the competition that runs around the same time as the Tour de France.

“It’s just a shame that the race as a whole could be so much more in terms of promoting it and that side of things. It is still held in very high regard in the women’s peloton.”

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Tiffany Cromwell has described the revised 67km La Course distance as an “insult” the women’s peloton may wear despite itself due to the commercial gain associated with the corresponding Tour de France.

Cromwell ticked nearly every target she set in 2016 except for the Rio Olympic Games for which she wasn’t selected and now reflects was too focused on.

“The classics had started alright and then I had a couple of bad races and I just was focusing too much on that and not on moving on because it was always in the back of my mind, selection for the Olympics,” she says.

“I remember, in May, it was Tour of California and I just couldn’t scratch myself, I was in such a bad way. It was this massive weight I put on my shoulders and that’s probably the biggest learning curve I had was, just focus on the race you want to be good at because selection will come if you’re performing.”

Cromwell is working on her mental approach to competition as she prepares for the 2017 season she is set to start later than usual after racing well into October this year.

“I have the physical ability, it’s just the mental side that I’ve definitely found I ride very much on that a lot of the time,” she says. “My performances are determined on how my head is. When I’m in a good space I’m at my best, but when I do have those times when I haven’t got it on straight it reflects that.”

Cromwell consulted with an AIS sports psychologist during the year, which she hopes will aid performances starting with her first major objective - the Santos Women’s Tour - in January.

“That was really helpful to look at things differently but, for me, a lot comes down to the lifestyle side of things, of trying to find that balance. I’m not someone that can be 100 per cent only on the bike,” she says. “I rely so much on having my friends, people I know I can catch-up with and talk about things other than cycling.”

Cromwell raced with a composite squad at the Santos Women’s Tour this year, however, her trade team is set to send an outfit in January. The spring classics are again another target.

“Initially I thought I’d have a quiet [Australian] summer and really build-up for the classics but with the team coming out for Down Under that’s made me really motivated,” she says. “I’d love to win.”