In Her Own Words: Tiffany Cromwell Previews Omloop van Het Hageland

Sat 2 Mar 2013

Racing continues in Belgium with Omloop van Het Hageland. ORICA-AIS will line up for Sunday’s race with two-time Het Hageland winner Emma Johansson in their midst. Having secured one win and two podiums at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Le Samyn, the Australian outfit looks to carry their momentum into Tielt, the start and finish town of the Lotto Cup race. In her own words, Tiffany Cromwell reviews the course and shares insight into the team’s objectives and tactics. 

Omloop van Het Hageland is a typical Lotto Cup style race. It begins with an anti-clockwise loop of 55 kilometres that features one notable climb. The Kerkstraat is a 700 metre long cobbled berg that comes towards the end of this first lap.

Following the big loop, we cross the finish line to start the first of five circuit laps. We’ll see the finish line five times before the end of the race. Each lap is 13 kilometres and includes section of narrow roads and one climb. The climb isn’t particularly difficult, but the bottom part is steep and it can wear out the legs. While the section isn’t too tough, it’s a good time to throw down.

From the climb, we hit an undulating farm road, go up a bit more and then descend back down towards the finish before a slight uphill dash to the line.

We can rely on Emma if the race comes down to a bunch sprint. Any of the rest of us could get into a breakaway and take our chances in small group.

Ultimately, we go into every race with one goal. We’re there to win. While Omloop van Het Hageland is a smaller race on our calendar, we approach it similarly to the way we’d approach a bigger race. As we get more racing in our legs and test out different tactics, we’re taking the opportunity to identify any little mistakes that we make that could cost us in the bigger races.

We’re a generally well-rounded team, and I would say our well-roundedness is our biggest strength at the classics. Nearly all of us are suited to this style of racing. We’re good on the short, punchy climbs. We’re technically strong. What we lack on the super hilly and the super flat, we more than make up for on the terrain in-between. Emma and Loes [Gunnewijk] have ample experience. The rest of us benefit from their experience on top of our ability to read races and have a pretty accurate sense of how they might play out.

Because we’re fairly evenly matched, we can all be there at the right moment and any of us are capable of putting ourselves in early moves or late moves or the race winning move. We use this strength to our advantage, and when the selection is made, we might have the numbers where other teams will not.

Our first two races in Belgium have us motivated and excited. All these early classics build toward the biggest classic at the end of the month  (Flanders!) and we don’t forget that for a second. The team is staying together between the races. For now, we’re in Belgium. We’ll move to Holland next week. The vibe is good, and the team is happy. We’re eager to build on our achievements.

ORICA-AIS for Omloop van Het Hageland
Amanda Spratt (@AmandaSpratt)
Emma Johansson (@emmaprocyclist)
Gracie Elvin (@gracieelvin)
Jessie MacLean (@aussiejessmac)
Loes Gunnewijk (@loesgunnewijk)
Sungeun Gu (@eun1709)
Tiffany Cromwell (@tiffanycromwell