Tiffany Cromwell has been a mainstay in the Women’s World Tour peloton for many years – she has been a mainstay with her current team Canyon//SRAM since inception back in 2016, It seem peculiar that only now, for what is very likely to be her last Olympic cycle that Tiffany Cromwell has finally been picked for the Olympic Road Race.
Tiffany herself admits that the timing of other Olympics and the parcours of other routes just have not suited her and not having the form at the right time, with Tiffany saying “2012 was suited to more of a rouleur where I was more of a climber at the time and for Rio 2016 my riding style had switched to a rouleur where the course would have suited a climber. I’d also hit a big hole in 2016 and only found my form a little too late for Olympic selection, I’m pleased to have the chance to represent Australia at the Olympics and pull on the Green and Gold”.
And while Tiffany is no stranger to riding for her home country of Australia, having ridden the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth games and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth games, the Olympics means something more to the rider born in Stirling, Australia “Representing Australia on any occasion is amazing but at the Olympics, you start to get the feeling that this is definitely something more than the Commonwealth Games. When you mention to riders from the US or from outside of the Commonwealth, you have to explain what the games are, whereas everyone knows the Olympics and there’s something extra special about them.”
I’m sure no one needs reminding though, this years delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be something a little bit different. Uncertainty around the games still hangs, the COVID pandemic is not over and there’s still many logistical hurdles to overcome for many nations and the hosts. Tiffany has had her first shot of the Pfizer vaccination and awaiting the second but everyone on the Australian team will be offered a vaccine. No one is forced to but it is encouraged for the safety of everyone that the vaccine is taken.
The Australian team will be flown in for the race and straight back out again as soon as their duties on the race are over to minimise any risk of a COVID outbreak. They will not use the athletes village, which means that for many people at their first and, like Tiffany, their last Olympics will miss out on the true experience of rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest sports stars from around the world.
Tiffany has had a solid start to the season, performing well in stage races, finishing 13th in the General Classification for Vuelta Comunitat Valenciana Feminas and 7th, the highest Canyon//SRAM rider, in the 34th Internationale LOTTO Thüringen Ladies Tour.
Canyon//SRAM have been under the microscope of late after their signing of Chloe Dygert, they’re the only team in the women’s and men’s peloton who has a Diversity & Inclusivity coach, Christine Kalkschmid, who has been working with the team since January 21st 2021 on a three year contract.
For Tiffany, though, she has seen the personal attacks which can come about from Social Media, her partner, Mercedes AMG Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas has received a torrent of abuse online. “It’s not just about Diversity & Inclusivity and while that is such an important part, it’s the tip of the iceberg. Online abuse needs to be better regulated and it’s problem which we’re just starting to take seriously in society, these trolls don’t know me yet they feel comfortable to sit behind a screen and rage abuse for no reason. I think these people who do this quickly forget there is a person behind the Twitter profile who reads these messages and it’s upsetting and stressful.”